“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”
– Hebrews 12:11
Do you ever ask, “Why God? Why?!” and then immediately wait for the clouds to separate and for God to bring down the answer? No? Just me? Well, I have done this several times in my lifetime, and never has God answered my questions as quickly as he did one early Friday morning.
A few weeks ago while on an evening run, I lost my balance and rolled my ankle. I was only a few blocks away from home, so I opted to hobble jog all the way back home. Probably, not the most brilliant idea but I didn’t want to alarm my sister. Well, my decision lead me to make my injury worse and therefore I have been on a running sabbatical for three weeks. Now, as you can see from previous blogs, running is my safe haven, it’s the moment where I am “still” before God, it’s my outlet where I go to find clarity. So, it’s been hard. It hasn’t just been hard because I’ve had to put one of my passions to rest, but it’s been hard to just slow down, sit still, and wait. So one Thursday night, after some reading before bed, I took the time to be honest and sincere with God and asked:
Why did I have to get injured? Just now, when I am making so much progress? I feel like I am regressing? I don’t understand!
Help me to understand.
Help me to see you in this injury.
Help me to see purpose in this…”
And then I went to bed.
The next day, I woke up a few minutes earlier before my alarm went off. So I decided to start my day early, got dressed for my morning workout, ate my breakfast, and began to read chapter 5 of my Beth Moore study. That day’s lesson was about Jacob and how his name meant “deceit” and it told the story of how he deceived his Father Isaac, received (stole) Esau’s blessing, and Jacob fled from his home in fear of Esau’s retribution. After many years, the LORD asked Jacob to return to his homeland which meant Jacob would be facing Esau soon. Genesis 32: 24-32 depicts the night before Jacob and Esau’s confrontation. After sending out his family and company ahead, Jacob was left alone and wrestled a man all night.
“When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. The he said, ‘Let me go, for the day has broken.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me’ And he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob’ Then he said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, 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 name of the place Peniel, saying ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered“ – Genesis 32: 24-30.
On that night, Jacob was permanently injured, yet he received a new identity at the same time that would have never happened if he hadn’t wrestled with God.
In that moment, I saw the answer to my prayer. I heard the verse in the epithet above, Hebrews 12:11, echo in my mind reminding me that this injury, though not pleasant, will serve a purpose, teach me a valuable lesson, and produce a harvest in time. I realized that in the midst of the recovery process, God is creating something new. He is bringing forth self-control, discipline, and increasing wisdom. He is teaching me the value of being still (literally) and letting patience take its course. He is teaching me to analyze and take a look at my schedule, and consider slowing down. He is teaching me to delight in every moment throughout my day, whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad. Beyond that, He is teaching me the value of friendship and support. I have had some many people speak truth and wisdom into my life, speak comfort into my restless heart, speak peace over my anxious thoughts. He is teaching me to trust the process (the recovery process), that building back up my strength will take time, and it will be a day to day process. And that’s the beauty of it, God has a way of surprising us like that. He just shows up out of the middle of nowhere the to teach us, to comfort us, to speak to us, to remind us we are never alone and He is always there ready to embrace us when we are ready to come to Him.
Only He can take any situation and turn it for good for those who love Him [Romans 8:28].
So, maybe you are not physically injured, but perhaps you can relate to any of the other needs listed above. Perhaps, you are going through a tough time and you’re seeking answers. Perhaps, you are in a restless place and needing God’s peace in your heart. Or perhaps, like Jacob you have made some mistakes in the past and are in the process of resolving them. Whatever the need, know that God is always there ready to listen, ready to comfort, ready to resolve. Trust Him. Father knows best. And even when you are faced with many unknown confounding variables, if you call out to Him, He will answer.
As always, I appreciate you for stopping by and reading. I pray that these few lines brought forth some type of encouragement to your soul today. Remember, God loves you so much!