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The Blessed Limp

Ever had an injury that just wouldn’t heal? Or surgery on a part of your body that took forever to heal. Maybe, like me, you never were the same after an incident. I’ve had 3 foot surgeries. Each time I’ve had numbness from the procedure that I’ve never fully recovered from. The last surgery took the longest to heal. I limped in a boot for a while, then limped as I favored it when the boot was removed. Lasting issues, although minor, continue to bother me.

But what happens when the “limp” is a spiritual one? Those sometimes last a lifetime, and yet, they can be some of the sweetest times of growing in Christ when we learn to depend on Him more deeply than prior to whatever caused that limp.

You may have read in my posts about my D-group reading through scripture chronologically. Check out this post for information, or search “chronological” on my blog site. This week we finished Hebrews, and as I say about many books in the Bible, this is one of my favs!

I saw something different in Hebrews 11 that I’ve never seen before. And it caused me to reflect on our limps in life. The writer of Hebrews was listing many heroes of the faith in this chapter, one being Jacob, certainly not a perfect man (none on this list are), but considered faithful even with his flaws.

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Hebrews 11:21

Why was he leaning on his staff? One Bible commentator says this:

Jacob had to lean on the top of his staff because he was given a limp many years before when God confronted him at Peniel (Genesis 32:24-32). As he leaned on his staff he remembered that God was great and held his future and the future of his descendants. Therefore he worshiped, demonstrating his faith and dependence on God.

David Guzik, Enduring Word

His encounter with God, when Jacob wouldn’t let God go until He blessed Him, left him with a permanent limp. He wouldn’t forget that encounter. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, because, as God said, “you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.” He wouldn’t let go of God. And when he was about to die, he worshiped God as he leaned on the staff he needed because of a permanent limp.

As I read this passage again, I just realized the connection between his limp and his worship. It made me think back over my life to the struggles and trying to figure out what God was doing, not understanding where these hard times were leading. Yet, I couldn’t turn away from God because I know Him and I trust Him to be completely good and completely faithful.

Now I picture myself leaning on my own “staff due to a limp” and worshiping. As this stage of my life I have many limps to look back on, and have come to know Him better through each one. Each limp has become a “memorial stone”, a remembrance of His love and sovereignty.

I wrote in my journal the day I read this chapter again: “Lord, thank you for the limps you allow in my life. Help me worship as I lean more and more on you. Many of these limps are lifelong, yet each one has increased my faith. May my legacy reflect your glory.”

I challenge you to read through Hebrews 11 and see where your life connects with some of these heroes of the faith. Be sure not to miss the definition of faith found in this chapter as well. Worship Him as you reflect on your limps and marvel at His faithfulness.

Banner photo by Lance Grandahl on Unsplash

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