“When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.”
Genesis 32:25 (NSRV)
In this ancient story, Jacob wrestles with a mysterious man who is revealed to be God. Jacob appears to be winning until his hip is relocated. Jacob is renamed “Israel” and he limps away from this struggle with God’s blessing.
Many of us limp through life as we encounter obstacles—illnesses, injuries, conflicts, and major disappointments. In retrospect, we may recall these struggles as blessings in disguise as we go on to live richer, more grateful lives, newly aware of the preciousness of each day. Did God send these struggles so that we might learn?
Your theology may differ from mine. I do not believe God destined me to be born with spina bifida. Nor did he punish me by sending breast cancer. Yet both health crises left their mark. I am not the person I would have been without them.
Is there a blessing here and who has offered this blessing? Unlike the story with Jacob, the answer may not be so clear.
While neither spina bifida nor breast cancer are blessings unto themselves, they have brought gifts—the generosity and caring of friends, family and health care professionals; a growing sense of compassion for what my body has been through; gratitude that my life continues well beyond what anyone predicted; and a life direction not dominated by careerism, a concern about success unrelated to happiness.
You might well say these ARE gifts from God—God as expressed through others, God as expressed within me. To that I say, AMEN.
Holy One, bless us with the willingness and ability to see you at work in even the darkest moments of our lives. Amen
As I limp through life, aware of my struggles, how do I feel blessed?
Written by Diane Glass
The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org