Read Isaiah 42:1-3
1 Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice. (NRSV)
Sometimes we think that the so-called giants of prayer have got it made. They relate to God without all the rubbish we seem to accumulate in our lives. And yet hear what a monk called John Cassian says about his feelings as he seeks to relate to God: lethargy, sleeplessness, unsettling dreams, impulsive urges, self-justification, seething emotions, sexual fantasies, pious pretense that masked as virtue, self-deception, clerical ambition and the desire to dominate, crushing despair, confusion, wild mood swings, flattery, and a wearied or anxious heart. All this from one who devoted his life to prayer!
We are all to some degree broken. No use in trying to fix up our brokenness in order to get close to God. We bring our brokenness to him, and in doing so find that not only are we broken but we are also beloved.
As our text reminds us, Jesus has not come to crush those who are weak. He will not despise the feeble flickering of our faith. He invites us not to become strong but to rely on his strength in our weakness.
The ‘spiritual giants’ are those who honestly lay their brokenness before God and who remind themselves that they are strong in the weakness and beloved in their brokenness.