Warts and All
This is a repost from my original blog written on 10/14/2012
From Genesis 32:
“24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with human beings and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
In a strange turn of events, the frustration that seemed to pull me away from grace is the same thing that seems to be driving me back to the cross.
I’ve been struggling with God. Wrestling ‘till day has finally broken. My stubbornness, my arrogance, my pride refused to let grace prevail over my sinfulness. So God, in His infinite mercy, has given me a limp.
I am walking with a limp. A thorn in my side.
Because I’d rather have learned my lessons well and present myself as wiser, more mature, having beaten my issues and I no longer have to struggle because I’m that good now. I want consistency. I want to put meaning to my past struggles. I want to win.
But like a deep, puss-filled, infected wound, one treatment isn’t enough. I require repeated disinfecting and cleaning. Because if it were as easy as I wanted it to be, I would start walking without Him. I would need community less and less. Because some part of me still believes that I can achieve some sort of holiness on my own. Without really realizing it, I act like all His sacrifice, pain, and suffering endured on the Cross falls short of the atonement necessary to cover my sin. So, in part, I need to save myself.
I mean, that’s what we were brought up to believe right? If you work hard enough, you can have it all. You aren’t just given things without working for it. You get what you put in.
I’m a lot like Jacob. Worried that God won’t do what He has already promised to me. So I tried to take matters into my own hands. I tried to secure His promises with my own hands. I tried to learn my lessons well so that there would be no next time. Tried to force letting grace work in my life because I know it ought to instead of actually experiencing Christ.
My walk is anything but perfect. Anything but polished. It’s rough. There are ups and downs. Yet part of me stubbornly still wants to seem better than I am.
“It is very easy to forgive others for their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.”
At last, I cannot hide my limp.
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England. It was customary back then for royalty, when having a portrait painted of them, to have it done in the best possible light, omitting much of their physical flaws. Contrary to this, Cromwell asked to have his portrait painted, “warts and all”.
Friends, here I am. Warts and all. I have wrestled with God. I am wrestling with God. And in my struggle, have been given a limp.
It’s a limp that reminds me of my arrogance. Reminds me of my inadequacy.
A limp that disables me from going too far on my own. A limp that forces me, mid-struggle, to cling tighter to the One I wrestle with.
The wrestle is exhausting. The stubbornness and arrogance that had seemed to prevent Grace from prevailing turns out to have never stood a chance against one single touch from the almighty.
And just like that I am rendered powerless, helplessly grasping on to Him.
“I will not let you go ‘till you bless me”
Hallelujah for my limp. Hallelujah for He is patient through my rebellion and struggling, only to win me over in His timing.
Hallelujah, I will not let You go.
Hallelujah, He never lets go.