Today’s question is: how are you living according to the example set forth by Christ? And yet, I feel that this week we are all consumed by the worries of the world. You have an informal congregational meeting on Sunday to talk about the future of the church leadership and today alone we have lost two members of our faith community – one whom is still tragically missing. So how do we live out our life and show the Christ example when the cares of the world seem overwhelming, unfair or make us question where God is?
I cannot help but think of the story of Jacob. Jacob is not the most upright of men and had deceived his father into giving him the first born birth right. Jacob who had fled in fear of his brother’s wreath was finally returning to his home land and was to face his brother. On the night before, while sleeping on the banks of the river, Jacob struggled with a stranger and as he wrestled all night long he finally gave into the stranger and was blessed. He learned that it was God himself that he fought with and that through his blessing he became Israel. Jacob did not come out of this fight alright; instead he had a hip wound that would forever follow him. This is a very brief explanation of many chapters of Genesis.
What I take from this story is hopeful. Whenever we struggle with what is going on in our lives we can be assured that not only is God right by our side but that God is in the outcome. Although Jacob’s struggle left him with a scar that forever gave him a limp, he came out stronger – he came out willing to face his brother with a renewed sense of strength. He came out no longer Jacob but now Israel.
God is in the plan and God is in our struggles. God is in our pain and God is in our glory. We might be finding ourselves at the river bank, struggling with the Divine to understand or we may find we have already been there and have the scars to prove it…but either way through our continued faith, prayers and belief we can say that we have struggled with the great I AM. After struggling we can face the world and God’s plan with renewed understanding, with renewed hope that indeed God has called us by name; and that through our faith we can and will do great things.
Paul writes: "Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us." On this Lenten Journey, how are you living according to the example set forth by Christ?