June 22, 2013

Losing to Win

One news channel focused all day on the incredible devastation in Calgary, Canmore, High River and surrounding areas. Most of High River is under water. Some were rescued from flood waters with helicopters and boats. I received word about 6:30 pm last night that my family is safe. 

As I wrote those words, my sister called. They were taken from their home (with her husband’s dialysis equipment) in a large front-end loader to a fire truck. The truck took them to a boat and the boat took them to a jeep and then to higher ground. Their house already had a foot and a half of water in the basement, but they were rescued. Today, they are saying…
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:7)
Today’s devotional reading focuses on the significance of God being the God of Jacob. His experience is our experience. He was a sinner, even a schemer from the get-go, but God had other plans. In great patience, He worked in this man’s life until that well-known wrestling match when God met with him and crippled him. With strong crying and tears he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). 

This is easily misinterpreted, as if Jacob wrestled with God and overcame him. However, this voice was choked with sorrow. Jacob was beaten and crippled. His stubborn heart finally went down beneath the pressure of God’s mysterious power. Yet this man won when he was beaten. Jacob triumphed when he yielded. God never left him alone until by crippling him, He broke his resistance and changed him forever.

I’ve been conscious of my weakness, of the evil within that baffles, beats, and spoils me. I’ve fought with God and know that we only win that battle by losing it.

I would not be shocked if many caught in this horrendous flood went through that experience. The God that controls life and breath, the wind and the rain, not only wrestles with their resistance, but this “God of Jacob” deeply intends that He also becomes their refuge.

Jacob’s pillow was a hard, unsympathetic stone. Sometimes God uses tough situations to get our attention. In Jacob’s case, God opened the heavens so that His hosts taught this man that the One who is with him is more than anything that came against him.

God also puts His hands on our lives. He may defeat and wound us, but the wounding is only for a deeper healing. May all that are under His hand this week find that He also is their stronghold, their salvation.

My sister said they are with friends in a large farmhouse. Four other families are there too. Their hostess has a table that seats twenty and could not understand why people kept bringing them food all last week, but she now is feeding a host. The hand of God provided before the need arose!

God’s people know how the God of Jacob wrestles and wins. We also know that in the winning, we lose — and yet by the losing we win for in yielding to Him, He becomes our fortress and our strength. By His grace, we learn to trust Him because He never gives up until we do.

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