I am Jacob. From the very first moment I took a breath, I’ve been a deceiver and a trickster. Even as I came from the womb, I was jockeying for position. My name means heel-grabber and that’s what I am.
I can con anyone. I can talk you out of your life savings for a bowl of chiken noodle soup. Just ask my brother. I am the used car salesman that makes used car salesmen look bad. I am the epitome of the snake oil peddler.
But here I am out in the desert, all by myself. I’ve disappointed my father and broken my mother’s heart. I’m sure my brother hates me and will probably try to kill me the next time he sees me. All my schemes have left me empty and broken inside and I have run out of plans.
Suddenly, I’m wrestling this Man. I can tell from the start that He’s much stronger and faster and smarter than I am. It’s all I can do to hold on. And that’s what I do– grip tight and hold on for all that I’m worth.
He barely touches my hip and it comes out of joint. I’ve never known such searing pain, but still I hold on. Even when he tells me to let go, I hold on.
“I won’t let go until you bless me. I won’t let go until you can see past my deceit and treachery and find the real me. I won’t let go until you tell me who I really am underneath my house of cards that’s falling down all around me.”
He says, “You are Israel. You are a prince and you are the one who has struggled with God and man and prevailed. You are no longer your deceitful past. You are now Mine.”
I see now that it’s good to lose every once in a while. It’s good to wrestle with a God that’s stronger than me, strong enough to take care of me, strong enough to carry me when I’m weak.
I’m learning that God has had a better plan for me than all my conniving and manipulation. I’m learning that love sometimes has to wound before it can heal, and sometimes it has to give you scars before it can make you whole.
My name is Israel, and I will probably never walk right again. My source of strength has become my weakness, but I’m finding out that’s where God’s power really shows up.
My name is Israel and I’m learning to dance with a limp.