So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched. And he was limping because of his hip. (Genesis 32:24-25, 31 / NIV)
Dad was a swashbuckling hero—his sword was a cane; his swagger was a limp.
My dad walked with a lifelong limp as the result of a childhood accident. I also walk with a limp; however, mine isn’t a physical or even metaphorical limp. It’s more like a life experience, lessons learned limp.
In reality, we all walk with limps—some are just more noticeable than others.
In the story of Jacob wrestling all night with a stranger, we come to realize his struggle was with God. The conflict lasted all night and became so intense that God finally touched Jacob’s hip, dislodging it somehow. From that encounter, Jacob limped for the rest of his life.
Imagine what he told his family the following morning. “Hey, dad, why are you limping?” “Thanks for asking, Reuben. I slipped on a rock last night and twisted my hip.” “No worries, Judah; I must have slept wrong last night.”
How can you accurately and convincingly describe an all-night wrestling match with God? Maybe Jacob used his limp to counsel his children or grandchildren when they contemplated decisions or were on the verge of making poor judgment calls.
I suspect Jacob occasionally regretted his limp, possibly even getting angry with God for giving it to him. After all, is there not a less painful way to learn a life lesson? Yet each halting step reminded him of his intimate encounter with God.
The limps of life. The scars, sad memories, unfavorable circumstances, and negative consequences from the poor choices and decisions we all make. We rebel against God, impulsively straying from His moral standard, then walk with a limp as a result.
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