Thursday, October 7, 2010
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Our son can usually tell when the weather's about to change. His knee is his own personal "weather channel." He seems pretty young to have pain like that, but it actually goes back to one day on a football field in high school. When one hit tore his anterior cruciate ligament - that infamous "ACL" injury so many athletes dread. Since he was five, his dream had been to play football, and he did and he was good, but then the injury. I was with him in the office of a sports medicine specialist when the doctor said, "You'll never play football again." That was the day his dream died. And, as he says now as part of his life testimony, it was the day his god died. His sports dream was dead. But that began a series of events that led to a time of tearful repentance, then the redirecting of his life goals, and ultimately to the incredible ways God has used him among Native American young people. And lest he forget who's in charge, he's got this alarm in his knee.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "That Life-Changing Limp."
God has given our son a lifelong reminder of his need to be surrendered completely to God, and the pain is part of that reminder. It's one of the strange but wonderful ways of God. And it may help explain some of what you're experiencing right now and some of what's gone on in your past.
To get the view from the Bible, we'll go to our word for today from the Word of God in Genesis 32, beginning with verse 24. It's part of Jacob's life story, a man for whom God has plans but who had plans of his own. Jacob - the schemer, the man who always found a way to make it happen, to get his way no matter what. He's on his way to a climactic reunion with the brother that he has stepped on to get where he is when he has this defining moment at the ford of a brook called the Jabbok.
"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 as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, 'Let me go, for it is daybreak.' But Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.' The man asked him, 'What is your name?' 'Jacob,' he answered. hen the man said, 'Your name will no longer be Jacob (which, by the way, suggests his devious ways), but Israel" (which means "prince with God"). Jacob's life was changed forever from that moment on. It was the day he finally realized that it's got to be God; that's it's all about surrendering to God's plans instead of pushing your own.
But he left that encounter with a lifetime reminder of who's in charge. The Bible says, "So Jacob called that place Peniel" - that means "face of God" - "'because I saw God face to face'...the sun rose above him...and he was limping because of his hip." He would limp for the rest of his life. God does that. He gives us a reminder of the battle we fought with Him and the surrender that gives us His best. For you, that "life-changing limp" may be some lingering consequences from some past sin, a rebellious child, a difficult marriage, some past failures, some lasting results of wrong choices in your past, or maybe even some physical pain like Jacob or our son.
Our son says of that injury that broke his body and broke his heart, "The worst thing that ever happened to me was the best thing that ever happened to me." It was that pain that led to his surrender to God and a much bigger life than he could have ever dreamed. It is the ongoing pain that is God's reminder that it's always got to be God. If He's given you a painful reminder of the futility of self-reliance, the price of sin, and the glory of His work in your life, then thank Him for it. Let the "limp" that God gave you when you wrestled with Him make you strong for the rest of your life!