Thursday, January 12, 2012

The blessing of 'Lame' (day 2)

'Lame'. It's a word we use to describe something or someone lacking humor, intelligence, agility or strength. 'Lame' is an all-encompassing insult.
I've never heard of anyone who felt that being called 'lame' was any blessing at all.
Except Jacob, of course.

Jacob was the son of Isaac, and his name meant 'trickster.'Right from the womb he had a knack of getting ahead of others through clever scheming, even tricking his father into giving him his brother's birthright.

One day Jacob reached the end of his own good ideas, and wrestled all night with God for a blessing. The blessing God gave him was to change his name and make him lame.
With a dislocated hip, Jacob limped and leaned upon a staff for the rest of his life. His name was now 'Israel' which means "he wrestles with God.' He learned to lean on God like he leaned upon his staff.

Fasting is willingly putting ourselves in a place of weakness so that we lean on God. It is taking away our 'staff,' whether that be food, coffee, candy or alcohol so that we lean on God's power. Sometimes our 'staff' is our own understanding or strength, and fasting reminds us that we are not as smart or as strong as we think we are. Fasting is the blessing of being lame and learning to lean.

Jesus began his ministry with by led by the Spirit into a 40 day fast. In his weakness from hunger he was tempted by Satan, but he withstood and returned in the power of the Spirit. Even Jesus learned to lean on the power of the Spirit in the desert.

Fasting may well put us into a battle of temptation, where we are confronted by our own sinfulness. God allows this so that we can overcome by His Spirit, returning in a greater measure of power over sin. The Holy Spirit also empowers us on Jesus' mission, with boldness to tell our grace story and faith for the miraculous.

So today, the second day of the fast, let's receive the blessing of being lame so we can learn to lean on God's power.

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