PASTOR GLEN'S BLOG
June 14, 2018
I love the story of Jacob getting into a wrestling match with God. We discover in Genesis 32 that he wrestles all night – “until the breaking of the day” (v. 24). He wouldn’t let go until he received a blessing. Most of us have had some hard nights in our lives. Some of us know sleepless nights. Sometimes we find ourselves in perilous situations at night. Nights can have a way of scaring us. Frederick Buechner refers to these times as the “dark nights of the soul.”
Jacob gets a new definition of his life. When the sun finally came up, God touched the socket of his hip – and his hip was wrenched; he was limping.
Lots of us are limping these days. We have our own limps – limited perspective, losses, hurts, disappointments, etc.
Yet is the limp a BAD thing in our lives? Think about the times in your life when you have grown the most spiritually. What were the conditions of those times? The Willow Creek Church did a survey several years ago, and they asked their members when they had experienced the best spiritual progress in their lives. The overwhelming majority responded by saying that it was in times of PAIN. We sometimes think life is best when it is pain-free – when things are going well on the outside. But maybe pain in our lives might bring about the best results.
God can take our limp and use it to for His glory and our own good. God left Jacob with a limp, in order to keep his eyes open. The limps help us keep our eyes open, so we can see what is real. And, it is in the limp that we may hear the voice of God – maybe clearer than ever!
Think about people who have gone through horrible pain in their lives. I like Michael J. Fox (not just because I’m taller than he is!!); but most of us know about his Parkinson’s disease. Michael has said that since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over twenty years ago, that those twenty years have been the most important years of his life. Or take, Joni Erickson Tada – think of what God has been able to do through her pain – her writings, her artwork, her radio show and all the conferences she does.
God gives Jacob a new name after this wrestling match. He was no longer Jacob (he grasps the heel – he deceives) BUT Israel (he struggles with God). The more we learn to wrestle with God, the more God will help us succeed in our lives. We read in Genesis 32:28, “for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” God allows us to limp, so we can see what is REAL. I would challenge us to keep on wrestling with God, and listening for his whisper even in our pain!