I love the concept of a smouldering wick! We have all experienced the struggle to keep a candle alive when it seems that it just does not want to burn. This is a great image of faith in a person struggling to believe for one reason or another. One of the challenges we face as Christians is to be on the lookout for those in our community who are struggling. Sometimes people simple lose their faith or slip out of the faith community unnoticed because we do not have a great enough sense of care for those in our midst who are fighting for their faith.

Perhaps we might argue that we too are struggling to maintain our faith in an ever more hostile world, but that is not a good enough answer! In fact, even more so should we be on the lookout for others suffering the same struggles as we are in order to help them or be inspired by their perseverance in their struggles.

In the Gospels Jesus seems to be drawn to the ‘little ones’ (anawim) and their concerns are never too small for him to take the time to address them. We need to imitate this concern and love of Jesus for his people as we care for one another in our communities. Even if we look at this issue from a purely resources based solution, it is far less costly from a resources perspective to maintain a person’s faith through good care, than to have to disciple a person from scratch – evangelise them and then bring them to a mature faith.

Leaders in the Church need to cultivate an awareness for those who are struggling in their faith and provide the means to help them persevere. A person whose faith has been tested in the fires of purification and suffering will be a great asset to the community when they pull through. Iron is hardened into stell through the addition of carbon and further firing; likewise our faith is strengthened and deepened through our experience of struggle and purification. Let us never neglect those who struggle – it is only a matter of time and support until they will become an even greater asset to our community.

Am I struggling in my faith? Have I asked others for support and help? Do I seek to support those who may be struggling with their faith?

Holy Spirit, help me to develop a compassionate heart for those who are struggling so that I can support them and help them to persevere in their faith.