Of Pits and Pebbles

24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Genesis 32:24-25

Somebody abandoned four brown, red-nosed Pit Bull puppies in the woods nearby and they have moved in to an old shed near my house. They're wild, there are four of them, so in my book that qualifies as a pack. They're about 5 months old so you don't think "puppy" when you see them. Actually, you think, "Ahhhhh! Four barking and howling pits just rolled out of that shed! Where's the nearest tree!?" Animal control couldn't catch them and since they haven't bit anyone they haven't been back.

A couple days ago I noticed one of them was limping. So I bought some dog food and walked to the shed. They heard me before I saw them and as they always do rambled out of the shed barking and howling warnings. I've learned they are all bark and no bite, at least so far; they always run when you get too close, and that's why I had the courage to do what I did.

After they were a good distance away, I walked in to the empty shed to put the food bowl down. The shed wasn't empty. The one with a limp was lying down against the back wall about 3 feet from me. I yelped, and almost dropped the food. She didn't move but was looking at me with those eerie pit bull eyes gleaming from the sunlight outside. She didn't growl, or bark, or even try to run. She was scared. I slowly put the food down beside her while I quietly and soothingly talked to her. After a few minutes she was eating the food, still prostrate, and I was EVER SO CAREFULLY petting her back.

She got the whole meal to herself and didn't have to fight for it with her other brothers and sisters.

While her brothers and sister were fending for themselves and knocking over garbage cans for scraps of trash, she was getting served Pedigree soft dog food in the comfort of her shed.

I thought to myself many times God has had to bring me to a place of brokenness just so I would slow down enough to receive His help.

It happened to Jacob in Genesis 32.

Jacob wrestled with an angel all night long and wouldn’t relent until a blessing was bestowed. He got his blessing, a new name, a whole new identity, but he also got his hip “touched” that made him walk with a limp the rest of his life; a constant reminder of his weakness and utter dependence upon God.

I believe in our stubbornness and self-reliance God many times uses circumstances and severe trials in our life to force us to slow down and look to Him for help. We have to learn that without Him we are hopeless; He is our everything.

I read once of a young American spy in a foreign county who was undercover as an old man. To remind himself to always walk slow and feeble he would put a rock in his shoe. That aggravating and annoying pebble was a constant reminder of his assumed identity. To avoid capture and certain death he could never forget who maybe was watching. I thought it was a good idea so I tried it myself. Every time I had to slow down or walk with a slight limp to avoid the pain it reminded me of my dependence on God everyday for everything.

That pit bull with a limp had no choice but to trust me and she was rewarded. Don’t wait for life to break you before turning to God.

Maybe today is a good day to walk with a limp.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit”, says the Lord (Zech. 4:6)

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