Last weekend our two-year-old grandson Everett started limping and wincing in pain. Then he could not walk or even stand up. Our son and daughter-in-law were understandably concerned.
A trip to the ER revealed that he had a fracture in one leg, hindering him from walking. It probably occurred at the beach. We were relieved that it wasn’t something worse
His leg had to have a splint put on his leg and then his leg was wrapped round and round. He was not happy about that, nor especially the IV put into his tiny arm.
Later, after he was back home, we had opportunity to Facetime with him and the family. He still was not able to run around like he was accustomed to doing, but he found new ways to get up and to hobble around. Especially when he heard the ice cream truck in the neighborhood. No splint or pain was going to keep him away from getting some ice cream. He had an incentive to prevail. This reminded me of the biblical story about Jacob:
Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh—Genesis 32:24-32
If we have been touched by God at the core of our being like Jacob, if we have been confronted with our ego and our past, and wrestled with the angel of the Lord, we have been transformed and we walk with a limp. We prevail because we have not given up. We prevail because the trial and the pain makes us stronger.
Yet we walk with a limp because it is a reminder that it is God who redeems us, who gives us the strength to endure and to overcome. It is not our strength, not our effort, but His strength and effort through us. Without Him we can do nothing. With Him we can do all things He desires for us to do.
We walk with a limp that we might be humble. A.W. Tozer once said, “God cannot use a man greatly who has not been hurt deeply.” A wild stallion cannot find its greatest purpose and fulfillment and majesty until it has been broken.
Many years ago, the church I was pastoring hired a new staff person. When we interviewed him, we were impressed, but I heard the Lord saying in my spirit, “He has never been broken.” I thought the Lord was just telling me the guy was going to have a tough time being broken by the Lord. I didn’t know I was going to have a tough time too dealing with him. A year later, we had to fire him. Then he came to myself and the elders broken and repentant. I don’t know what became of him after that, but I know that if he was truly broken and repentant, God would use him greatly.
I too walk with a limp, being humbled by the Lord many times over. In some ways, I am still a wild stallion and still being broken. I am humbled and blessed with the ways God has used me through the years in spite of myself and because of what He has done and is doing in me.