Some of us take pride in being self sufficient. We are rugged individualists who don’t need to depend on anyone else. We provide for ourselves and fend for ourselves. If we lack for anything, we get it ourselves or simply make do. As admirable as that may sound, though, it isn’t always the best approach. And from a spiritual perspective, it never is.
Jacob was a tricky young man. He thought he was self sufficient by using what he had, and when he saw an opportunity to get more, he took it. When his brother Esau was hungry, Jacob seized his chance and traded a bowl of soup for Esau’s birthright. When his blind father was ready to give his final blessing, Jacob disguised himself and tricked his way into receiving it. When his uncle Laban agreed to share the offspring from his herds, Jacob managed the herds to produce more animals for himself. It was a way of life for him. Jacob wanted to come away from every encounter as the winner, no matter what he had to do.
When he finally decided to leave Laban and return to his own home, Jacob encountered a stranger and fought with him. Once again Jacob wanted to come away as the winner. After fighting all night Jacob was injured and could not go on, yet he clung to the stranger and demanded a blessing. The stranger changed Jacob’s name to Israel and blessed him. That blessing, more than anything else, assured Israel’s future. That blessing had, in fact, come from God.
Jacob was not really self sufficient. He had to trick and fight his way into blessings. He had to take what did not belong to him. He had more needs than he could fill. Jacob’s insufficiency continued until one day when he received God’s blessing. On that day, Jacob finally had sufficient need. He needed God’s mercy. He needed God’s care. He needed God’s blessing. And God, whose nature it is to be merciful and caring, blessed that needy man.
We all need God’s blessing. We need it every day. We need it every hour. I Need Thee Every Hour was written by Annie S. Hawks. Like Jacob, she cried out for God’s blessing. Think of your spiritual need as you read the words to her familiar chorus.
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.
May we understand our need for God’s blessing, and may we receive God’s richest blessings on our journey to the foot of the cross.
Follow the Path!
[Use with Choosing Israel, day 22 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]