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Devotion - July 27, 2020

Genesis 32:22-31

Jacob Wrestles at Peniel

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 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. Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’ So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then the man said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.’ The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Devotion by Julia Shiver

I don't know about you, but this year is increasingly feeling like a long, dark night of the soul. Uncertain times like this can bring out the worst in us and bring out the best in us. If I am wrestling with anyone, it is myself. I am certainly not at my best when forced to stay at home. One of my sons is quite happy with present circumstances. He has never been actively social, so working from home by himself suits him just fine. Me, not so much. I have not lived up to my own expectations as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, deacon. Every time I feel like just maybe I will get through this, maybe I can begin functioning normally, something else happens. There will be an unnatural act of nature, another senseless murder, another attempt to legislate the status quo. And my soul aches with all the injustice I see. The problem is too big, and I am so small and weak.

The only way forward through the long night is with God's strength, grace, and compassion. In God's time, we will make it to the dawning of a new day, still limping, but moving forward. In God's time, I will more fully become the person God has called me to be. Thanks be to God.

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