Does this sign point to what you hope for or does it point to where you can find hope?
Either way, the any signs for hope are not as easily spotted as this one on a highway in southern Minnesota.
I’ve been mulling over and wrestling with hope for a few weeks now, looking towards Nov. 10 when I will be speaking at a Stephen Minister’s retreat on the topic.
And in the end, the sign that I know that hope is in my life, that what I am hoping for is in the process of happening or that I will begin to know where I can find hope, is through wrestling.
When we wrestle with life, wrestle with ourselves, wrestle with God, we struggle, we are in pain, we get out of breath, and we find ourselves marked by the experience.
Jacob hoisted a sign of hope in naming a place Peniel (Gen 32:22-32). A sign that forever more people would see the hope that comes with the struggles of life, the transformation of being or feeling an outcast, but being forgiven and welcomed back onto the path.
As with Jacob, I have found many times in my life that I can name Peniel – as during and after a time of wrestling, I have seen God.
Where in your life do you see a sign of Hope? A sign pointing to Peniel?
(Genesis 32:22-32, Common English Bible)
Jacob got up during the night, took his two wives, his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed the Jabbok River’s shallow water. He took them and everything that belonged to him, and he helped them cross the river. But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke. When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.”
But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”
He said to Jacob, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.”
Jacob also asked and said, “Tell me your name.”
But he said, “Why do you ask for my name?” and he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel, “because I’ve seen God face-to-face, and my life has been saved.” The sun rose as Jacob passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh. Therefore, Israelites don’t eat the tendon attached to the thigh muscle to this day, because he grabbed Jacob’s thigh muscle at the tendon.