It involves crucial, profound life choices, yes, but it doesn’t end with those moments.
It is an ongoing, living thing, all at once fragile and resilient. It grows, slowly exploring, gaining depth and confidence even through bruising experiences. Sometimes it involves struggle as flawed human beings learn to trust and submit to the mind-blowing Being we casually call ‘God’.
In honesty we grapple with the ‘why’ question, why a child dies, why a rapist survives. We don’t always find the answers we want in the Bible. We’re just told of One who orders the galaxies, who carries lambs close to his heart and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing (Isaiah 40), Who once commanded a city be annihilated, but also sacrificed His beloved Son that ‘whosoever’ believes will not perish eternally but be given life abundant.
We must choose – to seethe in rebellion, pretend disbelief or bow in worship before the only One truly worthy of the title ‘Lord’.
Some people like to quote the modern proverb, ‘I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.’ I say it depends who you’re kneeling before. Many have actually discovered great peace in humbling themselves to trust the grace of the all-powerful, all-knowing holy One.
Biblical character Jacob was not always good or nice or completely honest, but during the course of his life he learnt to trust in the Lord Who promised blessing to him and his family. We could cringe at times as we read of Jacob’s attempts to further God’s plan by questionable human means. These chapters of Genesis are as much a testimony to God’s faithfulness to His promises, not to mention patience and grace to a stubbornly ‘slow learner’!
It comes to a head with a strange encounter in ch32 where Jacob is camped by a river, about to meet his long estranged brother Esau whom he robbed of his birthright years before. It's been a long time since his vision of God's angels on a 'ladder' between earth and heaven. All night he wrestles with a mysterious opponent. The context reveals this to be an angel, here representative of God Himself. The struggle is symbolic of Jacob’s rocky journey learning faith. Often he has found it difficult and challenging. He has at times resisted obeying yet he has also refused to let go.
As dawn breaks the Lord injures Jacob but also blesses him. The father of God’s ancient people is brought to his knees before limping across the river to be reconciled with his brother, humbled but empowered and assured of his place in God’s plan. It seems at times God chooses to bring us low to help us realise our need of Him and repent of proud human self-reliance. It hurts but it brings blessing!
So what will it be for you?
Perishing on your feet, proud and lost, being judged by the God you can no longer pretend doesn’t exist?
Or will you bow your knee to the One Who rules anyway and offers you grace and love through Jesus?
You’re welcome to join those of us bowing before the One Who gives us life and joy.
Join us limping happily after our Master Who for our sake endured a cross!
We may be walking wounded,
but we’re blessed.