I never would have thought it. No way. That I could have something so intensely personal in me that is shown to also be in Jacob, aka Israel.
I have been musing over how to write about the past year. About what I learned when so much was taken from me.
And then this Sunday the sermon was on Jacob. And I thought, wow, I know what that feels like.
Now don't jump to conclusions. I am a truth-teller to a fault. Just watch me squirm when you ask about your new blouse or hair cut that I'm not to hip on. They say I wear my feelings on my ...face. (What happened to my sleeve where I can hide them under a jacket?)
Jacob's name means deceiver. And that he was. From fooling the doctor when he acted like he would be born before his twin Esau, to robbing Esau of a blessing from dad (a blessing not worth deception), Jacob became his name.
But when it came to reuniting with Esau after a few decades of separation, he was so scared that he couldn't sleep. He hatched a plan to give Esau much of what he had: cattle and herds, family members, etc.
Yet it wasn't until he wrestled with God and refused to let go of God until God blessed him (a blessing worth having), only when he had basically given up everything and finally himself, was he blessed by God.
Okay, now that I've written that, a poor recital of a great sermon, it sounds lame. But here goes nothing.
I too THOUGHT I had given up everything to God. First, my health (fibromyalgia). Then my mom, my ministry, my friends, my ... My, My, My. (Possession might be 9/10 of the law, but not in a so-called godly life!)
I had not yet given ALL to God. I thought giving all up to God meant I gave up earthly things like shopping, and parties, gossiping and coffees out. These losses would make more room for ministry, like working with the youth of my church.
I didn't know that God wanted it ALL, even the "righteous" things.
Being laid up for 6 weeks, pretty much alone, and feeling very sorry for myself, I finally realized I needed to give it A-L-L up. I had to turn to Him alone.
"God will orchestrate details of your journey until He has led you to the place where you come only to Him to be blessed" - Pastor Tom Rempel, Faith Bible Church. Jacob wanted his earthly father's blessing. Then his father-in-laws blessing of a wife. It took him nearly all his life to finally turn to God.
And this: "If when you wrestle with God about what He should do with you, you will never walk the same again" (Ibid.)
That last part is literally where I am right now--limping. My foot surgery went well, but recovery can take up to a year. So I'm still limping.
And my soul-surgery will probably take a life-time to recover from. Things have been stirred up in my life. I'm no longer the jump-on-the-band-wagon volunteer-for-every-ministry girl I used to be. I am learning to be content, to wait on God, to know that He IS enough for me.
For "when you wrestle with God you suddenly discover that when you lose, ultimately you win" (Ibid.)
The Bible seems full of such backward thinking. You know what I mean. To be strong you must be weak. To be first, you must be last. And to gain everything you must first lose all that you thought was a gain.
Like Paul I am trying to
"... count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (from studylight.org) Philippians 3:8-9.
The things I think I have "lost" truly are of no value when compared to God. I would therefore rather let go of all of them, refuse to accept any more of them, so that I might be completely in the center of His will for me. For there is no better place to be than in the center of God's will for you.