Jacob’s hip

As I think about all that we have been through lately, the struggles, the pain and agony of our hearts, and the promises of God becoming more real than ever, I am reminded of the story of Jacob found in the Book of Genesis.  It is an incredible story, very bizarre, but all together true.

Jacob is one of my wife’s favorite Old Testament people simply because we learn through him about God’s sovereignty in choosing people to follow Him.  I mean, talk about a clear picture of realizing that there is nothing that a person can do to earn salvation and favor with God.  He gives it based on His choosing, not ours.  Jacob was a mess of trouble right from the beginning.  He did so many things wrong.  He lied.  He cheated.  He stole.  He deceived.  Yet, the God of the universe chose to reveal Himself to Jacob in some of the most amazing ways that man has ever encountered God.  So, seeing how Jacob was still chosen by God makes us realize that God does not choose us based on how good we are.  This is comforting to truly know.

Anyway, Genesis gives us the account of when Jacob is said to have wrestled with God.  He had lived much of his life already and, like I said, had done a lot of deceitful things.  but God still revealed Himself to Jacob in profound ways and reminded him of incredible promises.

So, Jacob wrestles with God alone for a night.  He was preparing to meet up with his brother Esau the next day and he was terribly afraid that Esau was going to want to kill him because of some major deception from many years ago.  So, Jacob, still being a crafty guy in both good and bad ways, had sent tons of gifts on ahead to Esau in hopes of basically buying him off.  And he stayed behind everybody else perhaps in hopes of sparing his life.  But the Lord still chose to meet him.

Jacob was said to wrestle with “a man” all through the night until daybreak.  The man asked Jacob to let him go, but Jacob said that he wouldn’t let the man go until he blessed him.  So, the “man” seeing that Jacob would not relent, touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the “man.”  Jacob then received the blessing from the “man”, which most likely was God, who stated to Jacob that his new name would be Israel because he has struggled with God and man and has overcome.  But Jacob left that encounter with a limp.  And possibly that limp stayed with him for the rest of his life.

What was the purpose of that limp?  I think that the purpose was to serve as a reminder of how Jacob encountered God and received a blessing from Him that changed his life.  Did the limp ever cause pain?  I think anytime there is a limp, there is some degree of pain involved.  Perhaps Jacob’s limp was worse on certain days more so than others, like someone today with joint problems.  The cold weather often causes greater pain than the warmer weather.  But Jacob’s hip was also to serve as a testimony.  When his grandchildren asked him, “Grandpa, why do you walk with a limp?”, I’m sure that he was able to tell them of the time that he met God and was forever changed.

And so, just like Jacob, I have been wrestling with God as I work through the pain and agony of my heart over the loss of my beloved little girl.  My hip has been touched and now I limp with great pain.  And I will limp forever.  I’m sure that the pain will subside somewhat over time, just like most injuries, but it will forever be there as a reminder and a testimony.

It will remind me that God has met me in a profound way.  And truthfully, I don’t even yet fully understand what profound way that is, but I do know that the Lord is in the midst of my struggle and pain and that He has a great purpose for it.  And that limp will also serve as a reminder to me that I’m not home yet, that there will come a day when I am brought into the presence of Jesus where I will walk freely without pain and without limping.  But now, my limp reminds me that there are indeed greater things that are yet to come.

And this limp will also enable me to testify to the world as it says in 2 Cor. 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.”  Yes, may the world see me limping, but limping forward, continuing to praise the name of Jesus, continuing to make His name and truth known to all who care to listen, and continuing to hold on to His great and precious promises of a heavenly home that awaits those who trust in Him alone.

Yes, my hip has been wrenched by God.  And it hurts now more than ever.  Yesterday, it was really cold outside.  My hip really hurt.  I cried so hard while I was driving that I had to pull over because I could not see through my tears.  I pulled over and just wailed.  I had passed a lake as I was crying and I felt for certain that the lake was not big enough to hold all my tears.  I felt that there were more tears falling from my eyes than the cold hard rain that was falling from the sky.  And I just balled.  My hip hurt really bad yesterday.  But then, I was able to wipe my tears away, walk into a meeting where I was doing a short video to promote “Shoes for Haiti” and move forward in what God has called me to do in proclaiming the goodness of God through our work with the orphans and the poor in Haiti.  And that’s how it will be from now on.  By His grace, I will walk forward, but now I will always walk with a limp.

Today, I’m thankful that it looks sunny outside…

4 thoughts on “Jacob’s hip

  1. My dad died in the fall of 2009. Cancer. It was too early for us. He was only 56. And so vital and energetic and fun and loving. He just made EVERYTHING in all of our lives better. He fought and suffered for three years, for us. And then… Gone.

    It’s been hard. Obviously.

    I miss having a grampa for my kids so much. And I miss having a dad. We begged God. Pleaded. Cried out to him over and over to show mercy, to save my dad, to save us from the pain of losing him. But…

    I don’t know what it is to lose a child. Even knowing the agonizing pain of losing my dad, my best friend and my rock here on earth, I can’t even think about losing one of my children… So your journey inspires me and makes me hope.

    Because I’m still wrestling. I’ve come to accept that I will always limp, that while I can heal to some extent, my life – even my happiest moments – will never be completely free of the pain of losing him… I can accept that. I can deal with that pain. What I am having trouble with is accepting that God allowed this to happen. I can’t see the point. I can’t see how this was a better way than it would have been to have healed my dad.

    In my mind I can see my brothers and sisters witnessing the miracle that his healing would have been, I can imagine how Dad would have been a testimony of God’s mercy and power and love to so many people… It just doesn’t make sense to me that we have to go on without him. I feel like God deserted us. I just can’t seem to reconcile what I feel with what I really WANT to believe about God.

    In my head I tell myself that my dad’s life, like Susana’s, WAS a testimony of God’s mercy and power and love. That the saving power of Jesus Christ means that even in death, there was victory over cancer. I’m trying with everything in me to grab hold of that and really FEEL it. But it’s so hard, because I just really hurt. And I know that my suffering is so insignificant compared to what others must face… Your story, what happened in Haiti, and what is happening in Japan have broken my heart… There’s just so much pain in this world and I find it overwhelming at times.

    But what I want to say to you is thank you. Thank you for sharing your journey and for wrestling with your pain and being honest. Because there are many of us out there who find your faith and your hope to be a light in a dark place. We see you walking, with a limp, yes… But still WALKING, in faith and in the strength of God’s love, and it means something to us.

    So from me, one of I’m sure MANY, thank you. And may God wrap his arms of comfort around you and give you peace.

    Lots of love,
    Becky Willems

  2. Thx for this, I have recently actually broken my hip! Mother’s day 2012 I fell in my driveway in a freak accident which changed my life from being very active (at the gym everyday) to being in a wheelchair and walker! I am recovering nicely and I am taking this time to hear from God and go to the next level with Him! I believe that a negative cloud has been broken over my family and myself that has been around for a very longtime . I’m happy to say that through this process I’m amazingly positive!

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