God does not exist for us; we exist for God. God does not exist to make a big deal out of Max; Max exists to make a big deal out of God. So, can we appreciate the folly in thinking we have anything to offer God that he does not already have? Can we applaud the stunning, surprising patience of God? Jacob thought his allegiance was so valuable that God would meet his terms in order to receive it. Monstrous self-exaltation.
Yet God always responds with grace. Psalm 103:13 says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” God hears our prayers. You are obedient when you ask for help. But please be careful – prayer is not asking God to do what you want; it’s trusting God to do what is best. God never gives up on you.
Jacob’s rap sheet included words like cheater, deceiver, trickster, grifter, liar. He was a bit of a mess. Aren’t we all? Like him, our spiritual walk follows a crooked path. And we wonder, does God have a place for us? Well the answer through Jacob is “yes.” God uses flawed folks. He doesn’t cast us out when we deserve it.
He does, however, let us reap what we sow. Evil rebounds. So does good. Jesus summed up the bounce-back principle when he said, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2 NIV). Do you want God to disperse mercy upon you with a bucket? Then use a bucket as you disperse mercy to others. Would you want him to use a teaspoon? Well, you get the point. God never gives up on you.