“Why does Gramps walk so funny?” Five-year-old Cole was curious.
Seven-year-old Nathan answered. “Cause Gramps and Jesus were fighting.”
Jacob, following just behind, could imagine the expression on his youngest grandson’s face.
“Well, Gramps says Jesus was talking and he wasn’t listening. He was disobeying.”
“So Gramps walks crooked ‘cause he got a spankin’? Did he say sorry?”
Nathan nodded as he concentrated on holding his rod and walking the winding path down to their favorite fishing spot.
“Did Jesus ‘cept his ‘pology?”
“Yup. And now they’re best friends.”
“Jesus loves Gramps even though he disobeyed?” Cole asked with surprise.
Another nod from Nathan, and Jacob heard Cole say, “He’s just like Mommy.”
The boys ran ahead as Jacob did his best to keep up. His ankle was hurting more than usual. “Must be some rain coming,” he thought.
As they made their way down to the river, Jacob’s mind drifted back to the days before his accident. He’d been a heap of trouble as a teenager, driven by two things: basketball and the cry of the crowd. Parties after games, parties because there was no game. It was all about hanging out, having a good time, living for the moment with little thought of the consequences, secure in his fullride scholarship to a university in the States.
Jacob could still see the concern in his mother‘s eyes as he headed out that night all those years ago to party with friends. He didn’t see the drunk driver broadside him, and two weeks later he came out of a coma to discover the surgeons considering the amputation of his lower left leg. In the end, they relented and prescribed endless months of physiotherapy. The career he’d dreamed of since childhood evaporated.
Jacob remembered wrestling God over the sudden turn of events.
Through clenched teeth, in anguish of soul, he had challenged His Maker. “There is NO hope for my future.” Those words, spoken in despair, echoed in the halls of Jacob’s memory. They had been countered by the words of his mother the next morning, when she had quoted by memory, Genesis 32:12: “But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.” She called it her “Jacob’s promise”.
And miraculously, the healing process began. First, in his heart, then his leg. It took months to break the selfish habits and attitudes in his life. But a moment came when he finally gave up in exhaustion and despair, and started his complete recovery. He acknowledged his weakness and gained the right to tap into the greatest source of strength he could ever imagine.
Purpose, hope, and determination began to build over the weeks of rehab. He also found the blessing of friendship, first with Jesus and then with his beautiful bride, Mara; a godly woman who taught him to walk again, physically and spiritually.
Over the years, as teacher and coach, he saw the fulfillment of “Jacob’s promise”. He introduced many to his friend, Jesus, often through conversations begun by people’s curiosity over his awkward gait.
“Gramps, does your leg hurt?” Cole broke through Jacob’s reminiscing.
“Oh, it hurts alright but that’s part of the blessing. Makes me lean hard on Jesus and walk beside Him, instead of running ahead like us men are prone to do.”
Satisfied, Cole ran to catch up to Nathan so they could walk the last bit together.
“Cole, what’s up with your leg? Why are you walking so funny?”
“Just ‘memberin’ to lean, Nathan. I don’t want to run in front of Jesus!”
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