He held on. Wouldn't let go. Not until he got his blessing. Jacob went through something that forever changed how he related to God. The Lord weakened him physically to strengthen him spiritually. And his story finds its way into our week of adversity. Expecting the worst from his brother Esau, Jacob not only prepared practically (sending Esau gifts ahead of his arrival) but he talked to God. A lot. Then one night the Bible says he wrestled with a mysterious man. As the fight continued, the man touched and dislocated Jacob's hip. And that was enough to convince Jacob that this was no ordinary man, but in fact he saw God (v.30) so he held on, refusing to let go until he received his blessing.
Well, after fight night, battle-tested and blessed, Jacob had two new things: A limp and a name.
The limp is significant to me personally, because Jacob knew that in his new physical state, he would never be able to defend himself against Esau. He had to rely on God alone to fight his battles. Not sure about you, but I know more than ever that I'm weaker than I think. Oh, I know that goes against what the fitness world boasts, but like Jacob, even Paul understood that we rely more on God when we embrace our smallness. What did he say? "I am content in my weakness...for when I'm weak, I'm strong." But I really didn't understand that verse until I was humbled. But gracefully, I feel stronger in my weakness than I ever felt in my strength.
And as far as Jacob's new name, well, he went from "heel catcher, Jacob" to "he who struggles with God, Israel." Indeed, there's no better way to walk through life than with a limp that says you've been with God Himself.
For Discussion: What is the key to hanging on during the tough stuff? Are you wrestling? How could your present adversity help you lean more on God? What has adversity taught you about God and His grace?