Blessed, Wounded and Limping

Jacob is one of those Bible characters that I find hard to wrap my head around.  Somehow, to my great surprise, his name figures among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11.  Perhaps it's there to give us all some hope because admittedly, we are often more like Jacob than Abraham, Joseph or Moses.

Jacob, "the deceiver", was someone who lived up to his name every chance he got.  Yet in Genesis 32 we read a striking and mysterious story concerning him.  It says that while travelling back with his family to meet with his estranged brother, Esau, "Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him, until daybreak." Alone. Wrestling.  Hip put out of joint.  Pleading for a blessing.  Jacob's name is changed from deceiver, his past and present identity, to Israel - "God rules", "God preserves", "God protects", "God strives" - the new and better him.  If ever anyone did not seem to deserve such an appellation, it was Jacob.  His identity that had been wrapped up in deception is now deemed a thing of the past and is changed forever.  Yet the truth of who he was and the struggle for this new identity will stay with him as he moves through the rest of his life, blessed, wounded and limping.

How well I identify with Jacob.  I wish I didn't, but I do.  My encounters with God have changed me too.  Permanently. I am not who I was.  But I move forward always with a limp.  Admitting the sin within, and wrestling with God for the blessing, has given me bruised tissue, twisted sinew and muscle, a hip bone out of place. Quite simply, I limp. Sometimes it is very pronounced.  Other times it barely perceptible.  But it is there. Forever walking with a limp.  Living up to my new name remains a challenge, will always be a challenge.  "After such an encounter we go forward blessed - wounded perhaps, but always changed." (A Year with God)

God, help me live, help me limp forward, living out as the new blessed me for your glory.


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