For When We Need to Be Reminded to Hold On a Little Longer

It’s becoming a holy 25 minutes each morning.  We pile into small seats and both kids in the back say they need more leg room.

Don’t we all.

Don’t we all need room to stretch?  Freedom to run and be who we were made to be?  One day a week we sing loud about chains being gone, and then the other six we allow our lives to sing loud a different story.

Why do we believe Him for His promises more on Sunday?

Sure, we believe we are saved.  We believe we’ve been redeemed.  But as for all the rest of it, all those promises of everyday grace and mercy, well now all that becomes a little more than our souls can comprehend and receive.

It feels safer to turn Good News into Average News.  Maybe that, we can wrap our hands and minds and hearts around a little easier.

Jacob’s story begins being read aloud through the speakers of the car.  Thomas stares out the window and I wonder if he is listening at all.  The four of us managed to successfully wade through Sodom and Gomorrah a few weeks back.  Ella’s eyes widened at details only she and I understood;  Lot’s wife becoming on the outside what her heart on the inside had already become, and now we are here with Jacob.  The deceiver, the gullible one, the mess maker.  The one who prophetically grasped his brother’s heel straight from the womb, a thief from the beginning.  This Jacob.  And there in the dark while Jacob was left alone, He wrestled through the night with a Man.

We get to places in life where we can’t wrestle the same issue any longer.  Days can feel like nights and we roll and tumble identical issues we tried pinning the day before.  Our shoulder hits the ground, dust billows.  Again and again and again.  We think we are wrestling the issues of this world.  Friendships are hard.  Family is difficult.  Work seems impossible.  Critics are everywhere, and the loudest one is in our own head.  We wrestle it all with arms flexed, dirt rising, and strength weakening.

It would be easier to stop wrestling and walk away.  It would be easier to say thank you Lord for the freedom I know you will give in heaven one day, but for now, I’ll grin and bare it down here.  I’ll take your Average News for now, and look forward to the Good News in heaven.  That seems easier.

Jacob could have walked away.  He could have taken his 4 wives and countless bad choices, and walked away in the night. But he didn’t.  He wrestled until the blessing came.  He tossed and tumbled and finally came face to face with his real issue {the Face of God}, and he refused to let go until the blessing came.  Sometimes the places we feel most captive, are the very places we will experience the most exhilarating freedom if we will hold on long enough to receive the blessing.  Those Peniel places where we stop looking everywhere else for blessing and stare into the eternal face of God and plead, bless me!

The truth is, His voice is really the one we are aching to hear anyways.

The wheels get us closer to school and I slow my speed so we can finish the chapter.  We have to hear this ending because we all wrestle, I wrestle everyday, I was made to teach and that’s a hard thing, and therefore nobody is gettin’ out of this car until we hear the blessing come at the end of this wrestling match.  I tell the kids, hold on, just wait for it, the best part is coming.  We listen like our lives depend on it, and they do.

And He knows they do, it’s why He comes down to wrestle with us in the first place.  With one touch of His hand he declares enough is enough and wrenches Jacob’s hip, the tendon that wraps his sciatic nerve.  I smile, of course He does.  Day is breaking and God is done with wrestling, He denies us a lesser blessing of average and pours out overflowing Good News.  He changes the name of Jacob from deceiver to God’s warrior, and blesses him as Israel.

His promises aren’t just true on Sunday morning.  Believe Him for the fullness of His promises and hold tight to Good News.  Fight for blessing.  Morning will come and you’ll be limping, but you’ll have a better name.

We pull into carpool line.  Exactly 25 holy minutes door to door.  The kids duck their heads and climb from crammed seats.  I tease and tell them, “Ok, you’re free now.  You can get out of the car.”  Thomas drags his backpack behind him as his sisters help him from the car.  He turns and laughs, “I knew He would bless him.”  Me too Thomas.  Me too.


Amy Heywood