I have been re-reading the accounts of Jacob's two dreams/visions/encounters with God in readiness for the act of worship I'm due to lead next week. What struck me was the end of the encounter at Peniel where Jacob-Israel walked into the future with a permanent limp a reminder that he had wrestled with God. I found this unexpectedly helpful!
To wrestle with God - if not literally - seems to me to be a fairly normal part of Christian dicipleship: what is God saying? Must it really mean this or that, am I strong enough to face this or that challenge, and so on and so on. Jacob emerged from his encounter both stronger and weaker: as a person he grew (let's face it, he probably needed to!) yet he was permanently weakened by his injury. There have been times when I've argued with God a lot, and times when I've thought 'hey, you'll win anyway, I'll just give in now." Both can, at times, be the right response, I think. But I am attracted by the image of the wounded disiciple, the person whose encounter with God leaves them with a limp. I'm not quite sure what to do with this image, but it does seem a helpful one as I think about the various challenges facing my little congregation at this time.