MIdweek Musing: on costly blessings

When others preach that God heals our brokenness, Rev Dr Richard Frazer preaches that God disables us, makes the journey costly.

This Sunday, I was struck by, and grateful for this courageous and honest reflection on the story of Jacob's wrestling with God.

From the story, Richard invited us to hear that faith is not blind allegiance or smug certainty: it is wrestling.

To acknowledge that we might get hurt when we wrestle with God. And when we have struggled, we hold on to that blessing - we hold on to it. For it is the only thing that counts. The blessing, the love, the being seen and known by the Divine counts more than any cost.

For a moment, with these words, I held my breath. For in that reading of the story I heard my own. I had struggled, and in the struggle I, like Jacob, refused to let God go. I walked away from the tussle, well, more like limping, as with Jacob. I had been injured by the struggle. Broken, in a way. In time I came to learn my name, not quite so instantly heard and known in the moment. In time I came to know the blessing, and I have not let go of that, either.

Sometimes we need the hope of healing, the comfort of a still voice and calm presence. If that is all we hear, we deny God's presence in the fulness of our lived experience. We ignore the blessing that comes through struggle.

On this side of the struggle and the not letting go and the blessing and learning by what name God calls me, hearing this reading of the story of Jacob was a gift of affirmation. To receive such affirmation now, in this season of transition and seeking the next way in which I will live into my name, my calling, was pretty good timing, too.

Why do we proclaim the Story of God whenever we gather, in reading the scripture aloud and preaching? So that we will hear our own story within the Story of God, and know that we are named, are heard, are blessed, in the struggle and all it costs us. That blessing is all that counts, and it is worth the cost.


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