"A Smoking Flax Shall He Not Quench,"

by Harold Carter,"

Reprinted from the 2008 New Year Number Issue, Anchored Magazine, Worcester, England

God's promise to the barren person is:

"Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and they land Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee."--Isaiah 62:4

"When the dying flame of some hope that we cherish flickers and dies and our soul is resigned to a course, a fate or a state that we greatly wish were otherwise, yet, if our will be God's will, He works for the accomplishment of our cherished wish. When our peering eyes have ceased to see that spark and our breath cannot revive it, God despairs not, for He knows that the breath of His spirit can yet make it blaze forth triumphantly.

The greatest characters of Bible history were born to the aged and barren, to Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah's wife, Hannah and Elizabeth. Is there not a lesson in this? God sees potentialities in barreness and oft times it is the greatest of men who have most nearly failed to appear among men. There seems often to be a special destiny and a distinct work for those who have most cause to thank God for their very existence.

When Jewish hopes flagged under an alien rule, the Messiah was born. When a sterile church in the 16th century was growing more and more corrupt and its reformers, Huss and Savonarola and others had been persecuted even to death, the Reformation had its birth. If it had not come just then, the little spark of light might have been extinguished for ever.

The great George Whitefield was a sickly youth with weak lungs and was not expected to live. God strengthened those lungs so that later his open-air preaching could be heard a mile away.p>However ill-fitted we may seem for the work of God, however barren in His service, God surely sees latent possibilities wherever He sees a willing heart.--Howard Carter

"But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on thsoe who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children. To such as keep His covenant and to those who remember His commandments to do them."--Psalm 103: 17-18 [note, when the Bible repeats anything, makes a double reference as verse 18 does--this means God is very strong on this point--and it is called OBEDIENCE. God's mercy and blessing then, in large measure, is dependent on our obedience. How could it be otherwise? Can you bless as a parent a disobedient child? But obedience to God, which is better than even sacrifice of tithe or gifts on the church altar, will bring rich blessing, and we can obey God if we choose to do so.]--Ed.

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