My favorite pet in the whole, wide world was our cat Smoky. He was a beautiful blue-grey cat with golden eyes. We found him wandering in the ditches around our house, and rescued him. It was love at first sight.
One day, he was jumping up against the storm door, trying to catch a bug. When he landed, his back leg got caught between the door closer pump thingy and the door. He fell sideways, his leg caught, struggling to get out. Finally free, he made his way under the bed. We knew something was wrong, because he wouldn’t come out. He just stayed hidden, nursing his wounds.
Eventually, we got him to the vet, who told us the ball of Smoky’s hip joint had come out of the socket and was fractured. They would have to remove it. Smoky would live, but, according to the vet “He’ll never jump again, and will always walk with a limp.”
Famous last words…
Wrestling Match The sun rose as Jacob was leaving Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Genesis 32:31 GNT
In Genesis 32, we find Jacob heading home after twenty years, to meet up with his brother Esau. Jacob was pretty much a rogue, taking Esau’s birthright and stealing Esau’s hereditary blessing from their father Issac. His name even means “deceiver.”
God had been working on Jacob for some time, exiling him to his Uncle Laban’s house. There, he had to work seven years to marry Laban’s daughter Rachel. SEVEN YEARS. And then, Laban fools him, and sneaks his other daughter Leah into the marriage bed. Scoundrel meets scoundrel.
Although God had been molding Jacob, teaching him patience and how to work with others, Jacob still had a stubborn streak in him. That is, until God showed up. God initiated a wrestling match with Jacob (32:24). I imagine He had been trying to get Jacob’s attention for some time.
And what did Jacob do?
He responded to God by grabbing Him, and he told God “I won’t let go! Not until You bless me!”
Now that’s what I call perseverance!
And God did indeed bless Jacob, giving him a new name. Changing him from Deceiver to Israel.
The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.” Genesis 32:28 MSG
What about us? How do we respond when God is wrestling with us?
We can try to hold on to the perceived control we have in our lives. We can cling to our old selves, the one we’ve known for years and years. We don’t want to change into a stranger, do we? I know I don’t like to be uncomfortable. We can be fearful of any new identity God wants us to have. So, we fight against God, even though He wants to grow us into the women He has created us to be.
Or, we could be like Jacob, and hold on for the ride of our lives! Let’s cling to God, while He molds us, like clay, into the image of His Son Jesus. Let’s refuse to let go until He blesses us with a new name, and a new character, moving us from Fearful to Courageous, Ordinary to Extraordinary, and from Nobody to Child of the King!
Yeah, the ride will get turbulent and bumpy at times. We may even walk with a limp. But, we will be forever changed.
And I guarantee, we’ll be able to run and jump again!
The Rest of the Story How about Smoky? We came home one day to find him on top of the refrigerator. He had jumped up there! And his limp? Well, we only saw it when he knew he was being punished…
Lord, I’m thankful that You wrestle and wrangle with us until we pay attention! Like Jacob, I pray we will cling to You, hanging on for dear life, while You conform us into the women You created us to be! Thank You Jesus, for never letting go of us! Amen.
Grace be with you,