Doom was in the air as Bruce Reed watched the storm clouds form. His eyes surveyed the water garden as a breeze began to rock him back and forth. Everything seemed to be as it should. The beautiful orange fish glided around the bottom of the pond, occasionally disappearing under the lily pads. All of the rocks occupied their spaces with strength and dignity. The other reeds swayed as the breeze nudged them in one direction and then another. The wind chimes sprinkled music through the air in haunting resonance. Something didn’t feel right, but Bruce wasn’t sure what it was.
Wind began to increase and swirl about the water garden. The patio chairs rocked back and forth on their own as if a group of ghosts had decided to lounge for a while. The sky continued to darken and with each diminishing ray of light, Bruce Reed's uneasiness grew. Rings began appearing on the surface of the pond distorting the shapes of the beautiful orange fish. The water droplets from the sky began to increase in size and number until the pond looked as if it were boiling. Powerful gusts of wind blasted through the water garden bending Bruce and the other reeds close to the point of breaking. The patio chairs were rocking wildly now. One by one the wind gusts blew them over. The wind chimes were banging against the side of the house, crying for help. Then the chair nearest Bruce blew over backwards, landing directly on top of him and several other reeds.
“God, help us,” were the last words Bruce uttered as everything went black.
Morning came after the storm. Most of the water garden had fared well. The chair still rested atop Bruce and his friends, there was nothing they could do except wait for the gardener. The sun’s warming rays enveloped the tender reeds and they longed to be able to reach up to the sky.
“My goodness,” said a voice from the patio door, “it looks like a bomb went off back here.”
The gardener loved the water garden and all the plants, rocks and fish loved the gardener. There were times, however, when the gardener would do unexpected things. On occasion he would pull a plant out roots and all and move it to another location. Several of the orchids had endured being moved. It seemed cruel at the time and they suffered from the move, but in time it became apparent that the sun was better in the new location and they flourished like never before. The gardener was brutal with weeds. As soon as they emerged from the soil they were ripped from the ground and thrown into the waste bins. The gardener loved the water garden, but he could be unpredictable.
“My, my,” said the gardener as he lifted the patio chair off of the reeds. Bruce could feel the weight of the chair lift. His fellow reeds began straightening, but Bruce remained bent over, face down in the water. Terrible thoughts began to invade his mind as he realized he was damaged.
“The gardener is going to tear me out by the roots,” he thought to himself. “I’m not worthy to be in this glorious garden anymore.” The leather gloved hand of the gardener grasped Bruce, and he braced himself to be pulled from the earth. The sky came in to view as he was straitened and a splint was applied to his side to hold him straight and tall.
“Your going to be just fine,” said the gardener, “just a bruise.”
“He knows you by name Bruce!,” the other reeds said with a hint of envy, “we didn’t know you were so special.”
“Neither did I,” said Bruce fighting back his emotions, “neither did I.”
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.
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