True Change Takes God’s Strength

Ericka Loynes

Read: Genesis 32:22-32; 33:1-10

When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (32:25-26)

Ryan Speedo Green was a troubled and angry kid. Around age 12, he threatened the lives of his mother and brother and was sent to solitary confinement in a juvenile detention center. Today, at age 30, Ryan is a celebrated bass-baritone opera singer. He has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and is currently with the Vienna State Opera House in Germany. If Ryan had stayed bound to his past mistakes, and if his mentors didn’t offer him forgiveness and opportunities along the way, he may not have changed.

In Genesis, we read about Jacob who also has a tough past. In earlier chapters, he exploits his father and brother’s weaknesses to unfairly obtain an inheritance. By the time he is reunited with his brother, Esau, Jacob is a different man. He wrestles with God and, despite compromised strength, he holds on to God until God changes him.

We cannot let the past define us, but we should own up to our mistakes. Let’s pray for God’s strength to change our ways and for God’s intervention to change people’s hearts. Only then can we move forward as people with a new identity. —Ericka Loynes

Prayer: God, give us the strength to release our past and embrace our change.