Not everything goes according to plan, eh?
A few weeks ago, I found this hilarious cartoon online and Rebecca was able to track down the creator and secure permission to share it with you. Thanks, Rebecca! This time next week, I'll be in recovery from getting a right hip replacement due to severe osteoarthritis caused by an injury over 4.5 years ago. Nearly 5 years is a long time to live with daily pain, as I am sure many of you can attest (and to even longer time periods!) Some of you have told me how wonderful your surgeries went, others how they wished they hadn't waited so long. I am grateful for your prayers and notes and support...
We'll continue thinking about healing this Sunday as we study a man who had his hip thrown out of socket by wrestling all night along the banks of a river. In Genesis 32, Jacob the scoundrel (who had stolen his brother Esau's birthright/fortune) wanted to return from exile. He had done quite well for himself abroad, but longed to return home and make amends. Jacob sent his men ahead to notify Esau. They reported back that Esau was so "delighted," he'd be sending 400 soldiers out to greet them. Distressed, Jacob divided up his household to minimize their losses, and sent waves of extravagant gifts to his angry brother. On the final night, alone at the Jabbok Riverbank, Jacob wrestled with his own mortality and the consequences of his sins and choices. It was a rough night and he was seriously injured, but Jacob refused to give up until the stranger blessed him at daybreak.
How often do you find yourself wrestling, with God or with other people? Have you ever experienced a long, dark Night of the Soul, where past wrongs catch up with you, or worries about the future prevent you from rest? Jacob became a new man that night, thereafter called Israel (or God-Wrestler). But sometimes our struggles are not so easily wrapped up and completed. Sometimes the pain continues, and healing might not quite look or feel as we expected. God is mysterious, but always present. As I face more pain next week than this week, which will hopefully recover into less pain than I now experience, my prayers are with each person who suffers, who wrestles and struggles, who is unsure about a relationship, decision or the next right thing. May God bring the light of day and truth to you, to reveal a path towards less suffering and greater joy.
Blessings in the night, Pastor Emily