Memorial Day is not like most holidays. It’s a somber day for remembering fallen heroes. It’s a day to remember the ones who are not with us today, but have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.
We set a this memorial up for reflection, pausing, and remembrance. It’s a broken moment that can be beautiful even if it was painful.
Since we are talking about memorials, let’s look at the memorial of a certain broken individual named Jacob.
This guy had a troubled life. In fact, when he was born, he came out holding the heel of his twin brother, Esau. His name came from the Hebrew meaning “to follow, to be behind” but also “to supplant, circumvent, assail, overreach.
He was in some kind of trouble.
He was a cheater who stole his brother’s birthright.
By stealing his brother’s birthright, he got his father’s blessing by lying to him by declaring himself his firstborn. (Jacob stole Esau’s blessing from his father, who declared Jacob was his firstborn, by lying and impersonating his brother, Esau. )
And he (Jacob) wanted a blessing from God, too. After wrestling him (God) all night he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
That night God wrestled with Jacob and renamed him “Israel,” which means “he fights with God” or “God fights.”
God said to Jacob: Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed (Genesis 32:28).
Jacob’s entire life was a fight. He fought with his brother Esau, his father Isaac, his uncle Laban, and even God Himself.
This alternative name provided a way for Jacob to see himself (other) than as before. God recognized Jacob for what he was—a fighter.
The New Greater Memorial
Yes, Jacob was sleazy and low minded. He fought with God and men, yet somehow he prevailed because of a greater plan that required Jacob to get to a broken place for himself and become someone different. Jacob’s hip was knocked out of the joint at the socket before the end of his overnight wresting match with God. As a result, Jacob walked with a limp for the rest of his life.
God chooses the unlikely candidates to reflect His glory, carry His promise, and carry out greater things to the world. God chooses the people who appear to have screwed up too much. This limp proves to the world that the image of God’s people isn’t without flaws and isn’t without a muddy history. Jacob is a limper, and he proves that God is still pursuing the broken, screw-ups, and using them for His glory.
Has your life been broken and muddy like Jacob’s? Have you gone through bad times like a tragic event, like losing a loved one or been abused or mistreated? Today can be your new greater Memorial Day. No matter what you have gone through, right now you can choose to set up a new memorial. A greater memorial of another way of living, a fresh way of life, new remembrance of what God can do and the leaving the old ways are over and gone.
Jacob’s life was definitely broken in several places. But it pointed to the greater life that was to come even in the middle of the broken. Pause, reflect, and remember. Your life can be the same regardless of your broken places! Your broken is beautiful.