We know Jacob, the one who wrestled with God, because flannel-graphs and coloring books told us the story of a man who went toe to toe, head over head with the Almighty. We know God wins, because God always wins, but it was Jacob who showed determination: I won't let go until you bless me. Would the Almighty have let go first if Jacob hadn't said so?
I ask myself this often. How much does my determination result in what God considers a blessing?
I ask it that way on purpose because what I consider a blessing might not be what God considers a blessing.
God blessed him, yes. Changed his name, yes, but touched things that felt right, knocked them out of place so that they were right. And left him with a limp.
I wonder if this was the blessing Jacob thought he would get. I wonder if walking with a limp for the rest of his life was the sort of reward he wanted for pressing in, doing battle with God.
Here's what I pause on this morning: When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
Did God grow tired? Did He sigh in frustration as He finally did the only thing He could do to make the man stop? I worry about that. I worry that God grows tired of me. That He is tired of my pestering, my asking. That He wearies of me when I am driving, walking, laying, talking, and there are prayers punctuating my breathing "Help me. Don't leave me. Show me." I worry that God will knock something out of joint, leave me with a limp. I worry that the tightrope I am trying to walk, careful, measured steps that guard me from being ungrateful or a badgering witness, I worry that God will finally knock me off completely.
And I know He will not. I know He is Father and He is good, but it doesn't stop the wrestling, or the worrying. Sometimes I wonder if the wrestle or the worry is in itself the limp with which I walk.
You and I and all of us, we walk with limps. Probably so accustomed to the limp that we barely recognize it anymore, it is the way we walk, slowly, painfully, determined, though seemingly normal, for us. But a limp is only proof that we have wrestled and He has won.
‘Tis all in vain to hold thy tongue, Or touch the hollow of my thigh: Though every sinew be unstrung, Out of my arms Thou shalt not fly; Wrestling I will not let Thee go, Till I thy name, thy nature know.