The bruised and smoldering wick that I wrote about last week served its master well. Most of my tea lamps last two, maybe three, days before burning out. This wick lasted five days – kind of like the Hanukah story! I watched it give out its last bit of light before it flickered off. I was both sad and inspired. It was a holy moment.
This was the wick that was nearly discarded because of its appearance. The candle was damaged and the wick was bent in a glob of wax. It took a movement of the Holy Spirit and a reminder of an obscure verse in the Bible (the only reason why I knew the verse was because Dr. Hartley assigned it to me in my seminary class many years ago) to keep me from throwing it away. It required extra care on my part to get the wick out of the wax build up, to straighten it out, and get it functional. But when it caught fire, it blazed.
It lasted five days, meaning that it served me through five personal worship times; reminding me of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my midst.
Even more powerful was how its story (see “Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks” 09/03/13) touched many people within our blog network. One was a man named Les Ferguson in Mississippi who was devastated by a horrific tragedy. Two years ago, Pastor Les’ wife and disabled adult son were shot and killed by a man in his congregation. It happened on their 24th wedding anniversary. As if that grief wasn’t enough, Ferguson’s congregation did not respond well to the tragedy; adding alienation and misunderstanding to the tragic events.
Les tells his story through his blog called “Desperately Wanting to Believe Again” (go to lesfergusonjr.com). I highly recommend you read this incredibly honest and poignant pursuit of God in the midst of tragedy. He also deals with tough questions and issues that Christians tend to avoid or not talk about.
The way Les heard about the “wick” was remarkable. One of our Whole Life Worship subscribers, Janice Garrison (who is also a blogger, gatheringrubies.com), lives in Oklahoma. After she read the “wick” blog, she was inspired to do some research on the passage (Isaiah 42). It was then the Holy Spirit put Les Ferguson on her heart. I’m not sure how they know each other, since they live in two different states – but it might have to do with Edward Fudge, yet another blogger/author, who happens to be the brother of one of my best friends, Benjamin.
Anyway, I digress.
So Janice emails Les right away and encourages him to read my “wick” blog. He put it off at first, but then he was prompted to read it. Now Les told me that he’s not one of those “touchy-feely” types, but he said that he was glad that he was alone in his office – because when he read the blog, it moved him to tears.
God met him and touched him. And it might not have happened if I had thrown that “worthless” candle away.
My little tea candle was not the only smoldering wick in this story. Certainly Les Ferguson is a wick that was bruised and damaged by extraordinary tragedy. But the Master has not discarded him. Not in the slightest. Rather, slowly, carefully and tenderly, Jesus is restoring him back to life. I believe the next chapters of Les’ story will be redemptive and amazing – touching many who also desperately want to believe again.
Perhaps to a less traumatic degree, but no less significant, I see the Master tenderly restoring broken wicks like Janice, Edward, Benjamin, myself … and you, dear Reader. It’s all about transformation, which we all know is the “end game” of Whole Life Worship.
So here’s to “Sir Wick.” Once bruised, battered and useless, you have been of great and noble service to the King. You served with your whole life; holding nothing back, shining and blazing forth until there was nothing left. May we follow your example.
Well done, good and faithful Wick!