Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” (Genesis 32:28)
A year away from finishing college, we begin to think about our “callings” in life. It is confusing. Each time we think we know where we are supposed to be going, our lives change course. Life is often a wrestling match between what we think (or hope) God wants, and the reality of His direction for us.
Jacob must have faced something similar when he wrestled with God at Peniel. God won the match and dislocated his hip. Jacob fought hard, but he didn’t win. He didn’t get what he wanted from God. This “dislocation” in our own lives causes pain and frustration. Where are we going? What are we doing? We question ourselves. We question our connection with God. Does God hate me? Did I do something wrong?
Jacob emerged from the wrestling match with more than a dislocated hip. He got a new name — Israel — a name God picked out for Jacob. It embodied Jacob’s true identity, an unexpected blessing from wrestling with God.
God often allows difficulties into our lives right before moving or ushering us into a new level in our relationship with Him. Deep down we want to believe God is still there. But it doesn’t seem like He is when He’s dislocating your hip or shaking the things you thought were secure. He wants more of you, and He is willing to wound you to get it.
Maybe God has a different path, and He needs to get your attention to show it to you. Maybe God has something better in store. Maybe God is calling you to walk in a way you haven’t tried before, with a hip out of place. Maybe God has a new name He wants to give you, but He has to bring you to a place where you will listen.
Read Jacob’s story: Genesis 32:22-31. Where do you feel like God has “knocked out your hip?” Do you think He may be attempting to get your attention, directing you to something new? Spend some time writing or drawing your thoughts.
Dear God, thank You for being in control of my destination. Give me faith to believe that You are doing more than I see right now. Help me to receive the new name You give me.