Persistence and God’s Calling (reflection on Genesis 32:22-32)


“Man Carving His Own Destiny” by Albin Polasek
Photo by Russell Smith

Jacob was one persistent cuss.

He was the second born twin who came out grabbing his brother’s heel.  He snookered his brother out of a birthright.  Then, for good measure, he swindled his dad, taking all the blessing for himself.

Jacob persistently worked for seven years to win the hand of the lovely Rachel, only to discover that his father-in-law had pulled a fast one and wed him to Leah.  So Jacob worked another seven years to marry Rachel. 

Jacob was a man who got what he wanted.  He was persistent.  He would not let go.

God called Jacob.  But He called Jacob in a particular way.  Jacob didn’t hear a voice calling in the night.  No burning bush or angelic visitation.  No visions of the heavenly court room or friendly invitations to “follow me”

God called Jacob by testing his persistence; honing it; refining it.

God came to Jacob in a solitary place and wrestled with Jacob.  All night long, Jacob wouldn’t let go.  Finally at the opportune time, God, with a simple touch, wounded Jacob in the hip and demanded to be let go.  Jacob, persistent son-of-a-gun that he is, said ‘No, not until you bless me.’

Be careful what you ask for.

God gave Jacob a new identity: Israel;

God bestowed blessing;

God left Jacob with a permanent limp;

And God disappeared.

So it is with us in our struggles.  Often our struggles with God are the refining fire (Malachi 3:3-4) in which our calling is made clear.  Our struggles turn out to be the loving discipline of our Father (Hebrews 12:7-11).  The perseverance through the struggle is God’s means of refining us for His purposes.

And that is an encouraging thought.

Soli Deo Gloria


2 thoughts on “Persistence and God’s Calling (reflection on Genesis 32:22-32)

  1. I’m glad there’s purpose in the perseverance because perseverance through the struggle ain’t fun! But the thought that God is refining us for his purposes stokes my fortitude. And the promise of “a harvest of righteousness and peace” (Heb. 12:11) strengthens my hope. Thank you, Russell, for another thoughtful post!

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