TITLE: I Know the Power of it
By Dave Walker
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In this sceptical age of materialism people don't put much credence on the power of a blessing. They're not even sure if God exists, so how can they call on Him to bless them or bless others and believe what happens spiritually is more real than all the glitsy material they replace it with in their own strength?
But I was brought up in a culture where a father's blessing was a ceremonial time of great significance. It was as though the father, in his blessing, drew back the curtain and gazed into the future of his son's life, pronouncing it as he saw it with his spiritual eyes and sealing it in the sight of God.
I longed for the day when this ceremony would come to my house and I'd be blessed by my father. Sometimes I wondered if it would happen at all. I watched Papa getting smaller, frailer and more bent by the day. He spent most of his days propped up in bed talking to himself or to God or to any one of us who happened to wander into his darkened room, all the while absent-mindedly stroking his goatee which seemed to grow longer and whiter by the day.
Sometimes he'd grope his way to the kitchen looking for a snack. The smell of stew seemed almost irresistible to him. Then Mama would gently reprimand him. "Come on, old man, I can't have you knocking things over in my kitchen. Come, sit in the sun for a while" And she'd lead him to his chair against the wall by our front door to sit in the warmth, and sense the brighter light, though the images were all but gone, before taking him back to bed.
I can't say I ever got on well with Papa. I always had the feeling I was second best. My big brother and Papa spoke the same huntin', fishin' language. I was more a dreamer -- more like Mama.
One day, with great excitement Mama came to me. "Papa has decided it's time to bless." Then her face fell, "But it seems he wants to bless only your brother." She gazed at me, as she always had, with softness in her wide brown eyes that said, <i>You're special.</i> She pursed her lips and set her chin firmly. "You deserve his blessing. Come with me."
She took me to the bedroom. "Here. Put these on." She handed me my brother's clothes. As I dressed in them, the delicious aroma of stew wafted through from the kitchen.
I was dressed in my brother's clothes when Mama appeared in the doorway with a bowl of stew and goats skin sewn into sleeves. "Slip your arms into these, "she said, "so that when your father feels you, you'll feel like your hairy brother."
My mother felt as I did about a blessing. So important was it to us that we were prepared to deceive my ageing, blind father.
The deception worked and I received his blessing, to the chagrin of my brother.
Much later I had an encounter with God in the night. You'd think I would be too awed to wrestle with the Creator of the universe, but I desperately needed His blessing. I hung on to Him, fought with Him. "Bless me, Lord." I cried again and again, "I won't let You go unless You bless me."
Of course, He could have vapourised me on the spot, but I believe He was pleased with my request. He wants us to be blessed and to bless others, even those who persecute us (Ro 12:14). So He let me fight and He blessed me with a limp that I carry to this day to remind me of that wonderful time I saw Him face to face.
So, my friends of the 21st Century, don't just count your blessings, multiply them. Let them flow from your heart and your lips to those around you. Speak blessings over your children as they sleep, bless your wife or husband with words of encouragement and prayer; bless those at work with a smile and a scripture verse and bless your enemies with the gift of forgiveness.
I am your forefather, Jacob -- a deceiver and a cheat. I made many mistakes, but this one thing I got right. I recognised the enormous spiritual power of blessing in the Name of Him who loves to bless.
At least learn that from me.
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