Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob ("Schemer"), but Israel ("Prince with God"), because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.
- Genesis 32:28-31
We have this repeated context in the Bible - God changing someone's name. It happened to Abraham, Sarah, Peter, etc. We understand how this is a sign of blessing and great significance. We also know that seeing God is huge thing: Moses said to the Lord "show me your face". Philip said to Jesus "Show us the Father and that will be enough for us..." Well Jacob gets both and one other thing - a limp. The context is Jacob conniving to try and make sure his brother (that he tricked out of a big blessing) doesn't KILL him. Jacob is busy putting this big scheme to butter him up by sending him all these gifts - you can find the story in the earlier verses of Genesis 32. So let's summarize:
Okay - so let's talk about you. You are probably like Jacob if you are reading this. You want to be draw closer to God. You want to be blessed. You want to find your identity in Him rather than who the world - or even you, yourself - think you are. You might have a history of unfinished business in your life partly due to things that you maybe are not so proud of? If so, then you are like Jacob - a good candidate for some serious progress with God!
But you may find that it requires the same things Jacob had to go through - it can cost you. He wrestled with God. Maybe its you wrestling with God's Word over how you view things, how He sees them, and how He's asking for an adjustment on your part. Maybe it's wrestling with obeying God. Maybe it's all about fighting through your doubts and fears. You are going to have to be tenacious and hold on like Jacob. The wrestling means you will walk differently afterward - sure, walk in God's path, in His new sense of who you are, in His blessings - and it may hurt, just like Jacob's limp. I wonder what a dislocated hip feels like. I've had a dislocated shoulder and it is no fun at all. I wonder how long Jacob limped... the Bible doesn't say. How long will I be tender after I encounter God?
The point is this: Today if you want God's blessings and plan for you - you may have to reach for it, brace for a shock as you wrestle through encountering the truth of God, and be prepared for Him putting you in your place a bit in the process. The progress you'll make is worth it - just don't expect for an encounter with Him to be a completely comfy thing - making progress may involve some pain. The pain is worth the progress - but it is still pain - and it may remain. It's worth it.
Spark. Find some gas to dump on it.
what is "spark"?
Its a small thing - like the flash on a spark plug that hopefully ignites something bigger to propel you forward.