I liked the picture, so I ripped it out of the Bible. It was a painting of Jacob
wrestling with the Angel. I framed it, and hung it in my front hallway.
At a Bible study, I had learned that Jacob was wrestling with God.
Jacob fought Him for many, long hours, until, finally, God deliberately injured
his thigh - which only made Jacob cling to Him, even more. Then, Jacob,
in a bravado of hutzpah, demanded to be blessed!
In the months following Dad's suicide, that is how I felt - injured, though,
clinging desperately to my Heavenly Father.
My relationship with Him had already been a rather jumbled mess. It lay,
spread out all over my kitchen table, like a 6,000 piece puzzle made of gray
and brown pieces. Each piece was slightly different, and yet, somehow,
exasperatingly the same.
I was not born Gentile. I had opened my front door to Jesus only a painfully
short while before my father's death. In the midst of my baby steps in my walk with Him, suddenly, and quite nauseatingly, Dad's suicide blundered onto my path, like a burning hot,
jagged rock crashing into someone's windshield.
A window had just begun to open, and I thought that I could see Jesus, through the
haze of my sleep-crusted eyelids. Then, in a heartbeat, the window slammed shut.
The noise was deafening. I could still hear Him calling my name, far off, across
the distance of my anger, and belligerence, across the desert of my people's
"What are you doing here? You know that You're not welcome! Go away!" I would
stand at the peep-hole of my heavy, bolted door, peering out, suspiciously, at the
Humble Man standing on the dusty mat of my locked screen. "Are You still there?
I thought I asked You to leave? I can't talk to You, now. Go away! What do You
want with me, anyhow?"
I'd turn my back on Him, and lean exhaustedly against the cool, wooden frame.
My eyes would tightly close, and my arms would be folded in defiance. Then,
cautiously, tearfully, I'd turn back - just to see if He were still there. Yes!
There He stood, like an all-knowing Friend, patiently waiting to share a torn
piece of challah with me.
It was Friday night, the eve of my Sabbath, and I'd be in synagoguge, tearing off
a soft, doughy clump of challah. The smell of the sweet dough reached my nostrils.
I crammed the wad into my salivating mouth. I didn't even bother to ask Jesus,
if, perhaps, He would like a tiny shred. After all, He had no place here....or, did He?
I'd sit at my wobbly kitchen table, again, squinting irritably, and sifting the oddly
shaped, gray and brown 6,000 squares of my puzzle. The puzzle had been a gift
from God, and not a particularly appreciated one. I would have always preferred
a pair of socks, or perhaps, a good pen.
Once, in a bizarrely great moment, I'd discover two pieces which seemed to fit -
and, then, my flawed, human hand would slip, and knock the desert-colored,
cardboard pieces to the floor, forcing me to start all over again.
But, Jesus is unbelievably patient, and kind. He seems to have all the time in the
world, which seems surreal to me, since, on this earth, He had had very little time at all.
So, I continue to pray, heartbreakingly, that He truly is my Savior, and not just a very
lovely story. I want Him to be The Story, and Lovely, beyond all beauty.
Why does Jesus wish to come into this very trivial life, anyway?
Perhaps, He only longs to take my clenched fists in His Healing Hands, and relax
my aching fingers - one by one - until they lay limp in surrendering agony.
The agony would be like the painful warming of fingers exposed to the numbing
cold, for too long. The pain would be a welcome relief, though a moment of crying
out in human frailty.
But, that moment is still waiting for release.
And, as it is, Jesus sits, in my front hallway, waiting, compassionately, and tenderly,
under the little framed picture of Jacob wrestling with the Angel.
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