September 23rd E-votional

Last Sunday, we talked about Abram and God’s promise of descendants.  Abram, a man of faith, questioned and doubted even in the face of God’s promised.  Abraham isn’t the only member of his family who struggles.  Genesis 32:24-32 tells us about Abraham’s grandson, Jacob.  Jacob is traveling and finds himself alone at night and a man begins to wrestle with him.  Depending on the interpretation, this man was either an angel or more often God.  They wrestled throughout the night until daybreak.  When the man saw that he couldn’t win the wrestling match he dislocated Jacob’s hip.  Jacob still would not let go until the man blessed him.  God blessed Jacob and changed his name to Israel because he has striven with God and humans and prevailed.  However, Jacob always had a limp from where his hip had been dislocated. 

These stories about Abram and Jacob are important for us to remember.  There are times our lives when we will encounter tragedy.  Abram reminds us that questioning and faith are not mutually exclusive.  Jacob shows us that at times, we may find ourselves wrestling with God. This is not an easy task, nor is it always a pain-free task.  However, just as Jacob did not give up, once we start wrestling with God, we shouldn’t give up.  We should hold on until the end.  What will the end result be?  Sometimes, it is a blessing.  We have no idea what form that blessing may take.  The scriptures don’t tell us how Jacob was blessed, just that he was.  Sometimes, it is a limp, a small pain that isn’t always noticeable, but that we will always carry with us.  Often, like Jacob, it is both.

There will be times in all of our lives when we suffer pain, loss, grief, unanswered prayers.  When we find ourselves in these periods, we can take solace in scripture.  Abram can remind us that it is possible to question God while still remaining faithful.  Jacob reminds us that when we wrestle with God, we must see it through, even if there is no definitive resolution.  However, when we do wrestle with God, if we leave with a limp, blessing, or both, we are forever changed.

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