As the calendar reminds us of those early days of grief, thoughts turn to the ways the road of grieving stretches longer than we might have first guessed. We who grieve – for loved ones, for dashed hopes, for the pain we see around us – we walk with a limp, like Jacob in one of my most favorite stories of the bible.
Jacob, we learn in scripture, sought to make his life mean something all by himself, thankyouverymuch, and failed time and time again to find fulfillment in wealth or love or power, only to find himself, in the dark of night, wrestling with a God who didn’t operate inside his paradigm. A God who gifted him with brokenness and pronounced a blessing that was tethered to that brokenness.
God is sneaky like that – putting His greatest gifts in lowly places … like, oh, say, a manger.
Those with the grit to really engage the gospel learn this: that we never come to God on our own terms, plugging Him in here and there, as we see fit. If I take Him on, if I truly seek Him and not my own watered-down version of Him, not just my wish list of things he might provide, I enter into a Spiritual wrestling match with One who has the power to pin me. And in pinning me, in showing me – in spite of my idolatrous and ultimately futile search for success on my terms – that His Power is greater than me, he frees me from the delusion and discouragement of a life lived pacing a hamster wheel. There, pinned, on the mat, I need grace in a clinging, desperate way.
“I won’t let go,” Jacob says, “unless you bless me.”
And there’s the turning point – the place where real, lasting life change happens. Jacob, his wayward heart and broken hip, finally sees his limits – and cries out, begging for the thing he’s been chasing his whole life.
Oh, Jacob, how you teach … how you give this wayward heart hope, that this brokenness might just be the key to really, truly, experiencing God.
Later, as he is building the Church, Paul reminds the Corinthians that only when he is weak, is he strong.
If I will live strong, then, I must have the courage to really wrestle – to really dig deep and contend – with who God is and what he is calling me to be. And I must, on those days when I feel pinned, when I feel broken, remember that I serve One who ties brokenness into His act of blessing. Who whispers to me that I am his beloved, and that he will use my limping strides to build an eternal kingdom.
There are big dreams being dreamed about what God might use Banebow to do in His kingdom, friends. Would you commit to pray as we wrestle, as we seek, as we trust that He is writing the story of bringing beauty from these ashes?