When We Wrestle With God...
Updated: Jan 24, 2019
Genesis 32:24 (ESV), “And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.”
The air must have been cold and brittle that night. Many thoughts entering in and out of his mind, not letting up. He was worried about the outcome, worried about meeting his brother that he failed and hurt years ago. He must have played over and over his mistakes that day when he selfishly thought of his advantages by stealing his brother‘s blessing. Soon he will find out what time had done to a hurting soul. Soon he will encounter what is owed him just past this brook.
Something in his heart prompted him to stay behind as his family continued to journey for safety. Maybe he needed some time to reflect and cry out to God on behalf of himself and his family. Whatever caused him to stay behind also made him struggle deeper within. He fought all night for his rights, for his way, for his hurts and his discontents he had held for so long. He decided to face his failures, pain and resentment that night by the brook. He fought and fought until daybreak, determined that he would be heard. There was a consequence to his wrestling though, a permanent impairment but also a name change and a blessing, because he realized he couldn’t live his life without Him.
I’m sure as he left that place of struggle, it was revealed to him the Mightiness of an All-Powerful God who always wins, who never lets up, and who keeps fighting with us so we don’t lose sight of His true character. God always wants to show us His Power in a world that searches for its own.
Jacob was a man of struggle who continually fought with his family and God. His ambitions were tainted which revealed a character unbecoming. Only God was able to meet him where he was and speak life into his existing state. It’s been said that real growth comes with great pain and suffering. I truly believe this because in these moments, our true limits are revealed and God’s Hand seen.
Many of us struggle with God. Sometimes they’re short getaways and others they’re long extended stays. However long the struggle, these are hard times for any believer because it feels like we are at a crossroads. Proverbs 3:5-7 ( NLT) says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”
In our struggle like Jacob, our own logical sense tells us this “will” or “desire” to do what we have been called to do should look exactly like what we had planned. The crisis of belief comes when we let go of those ideas and plans by trusting that God knows what He‘s doing. That decision takes away the disappointment we have in our struggle with God. It gives us a rest, even though the questions are still present, we are learning to struggle rightly.
I recently read a book by Lysa Terkeurst entitled, “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way,” where she outlines a creative way to wrestle well. She writes, “And we must learn to live and love in the imperfect rhythms of our clunky humanity, trying to stay on beat within a symphony of divinity. We will get the words to the song wrong sometimes, We will go off-key and offbeat. We will go sharp, and we will fall flat. But if God’s symphony continues to play loud and strong as the ultimate soundtrack of our lives, we will sense how to get back on track. We will feel how to get back in rhythm. We will hear how to get back in tune.”
She then describes the disadvantages of lowering the volume when singing along with a well-produced track. We let our preferences take hold of the melody and the loudest voice fades, the One Voice we should be hearing above everything else. This causes us to miss the important key changes, which in turn spiral us out of control.
I don’t know about you, but in my struggles, I want to see God’s true character revealed even in my insufficiency to recognize it.
May we always strive to listen to the loudest voice on the track, knowing we are always a work in progress, even with our questions, even in our wrestling.
As always, I’m learning right there with ya,
Thankful For His Grace,