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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 4 of the 50 Day Spiritual Adventure

Today I'm reading Genesis 32:22-32.

I have always felt that today's passage is one of the strangest stories in the Bible...Jacob wrestling with an angel. I think the angel could have beaten him in no time flat. No contest! And to wrestle all night? I wrestled in high school and I can tell you that three two-minute periods leaves even the most well conditioned athlete completely exhausted. How could anyone find the strength to keep up the contest for hours?

I think it was because Jacob felt he was in a life or death situation. He didn't know what he had stumbled upon in the darkness, and perhaps he felt that if he stopped or surrendered his life would have been in jeopardy. 

I think God was testing Jacob. Up to this point he was pretty much of a scoundrel. He cheated Esau, his brother, out of his inheritance through trickery. And then Jacob got the same treatment from his future father in-law, Laban. What goes around comes around. 

But it's clear Jacob was pretty full of himself. And here he gets taken down a notch. He is in a situation where he cannot win on his own strength, and he was left with a daily painful reminder. 

Question three in today's journal is a poignant one: What pain might be required for you to take on your new spiritual identity?

We naturally want to avoid things that are painful. But often it is in our painful places where God can speak to us most clearly. C. S. Lewis wrote in his book "The Problem of Pain" that: "We can ignore even pleasure. but pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shout in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

So, seek God's presence and blessing even in the painful parts of life. Like Jacob, God's new identity, God's new dream for you may come when you push through the pain rather than when you try to avoid it. 


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