One of the challenges we are facing during the Covid 19 crisis is how to lead when we don’t know where to go and how to get there. In Genesis 32 we see Jacob wrestling with a stranger who wrestles with him through the night. Neither seems to be winning and the stranger asks Jacob to release him. Jacob won’t let go unless he is blessed. Then the one he wrestles with says “Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”

Jacob realizes he has wrestled with God face to face and survived. Vs 31 says “The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel and he was limping because of his hip.” The stranger had dislocated Jacob’s hip in an effort to get him to let go.

Have you ever engaged with God in a way that leaves you with a limp? There was a time where I was self-confident in my counseling abilities and ready to take on the world. It took a dark night of wrestling to realize I wasn’t as sufficient and competent as I thought. It left me with a limp I am still grateful for.

In Rick Bezet’s book, Be Real (because fake is exhausting) he notes that this limp stopped Jacob’s lifelong habit of running. On page 50 he says “It is never God’s will for you to run from a problem. Never. If you run from it, it will just come up again, because God is more interested in changing your character than in making your life comfortable. When you have an encounter with God, when you really meet God, it changes the way you walk. You cannot meet somebody who is as great as God and not have your desires change.

This may be the most important thing I tell you: the deepest work God does in your life is when he works on your identity. When you see yourself the way God sees you, it’s going to change your life. You’ll be set free from the old you, and you can start acting in a whole new way.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

All of us who encounter God in some significant way are limping. We need to extend grace and patience to each other as we learn to walk with a limp. May the God who stoops to wrestle with us extend his grace to you as you take your place and do what he asks of you in this time. In the middle of it all, remember that you are loved more than you could ask or imagine. Pastor Jack

praying for those who needed some specific care from the Good Shepherd
praying for those who needed some specific care from the Good Shepherd