I started this blog at a time when I was having a struggle with another person. Then post by post, I moved on from that, only to find myself in a struggle with myself. Therefore, I wrote about integrity, overcoming temptations, and staying on the right path. So the hard part is over and victory is mine, right? Nope…not so fast. The ultimate struggle has come about this week: me and God in a one-on-one match-up.
I have been writing, reading, pursuing, attending, working, praying, and listening, but it seems as if God hasn’t seem my good deeds. I have been doing, I have been doing, I have been doing….. but it hasn’t been enough to move me from point A to point B, and I feel like I’m living out the phrase, “two steps forward, one step back”. God knows what I need and I just want to be blessed already!
JACOB WRESTLED WITH GOD (Genesis 32:24-31)
So Jacob was left alone. Then a man wrestled with him until dawn. When the man saw that he could not win against Jacob, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that it was dislocated as they wrestled. Then the man said, “Let me go; it’s almost dawn.”
But Jacob answered, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”
So the man asked him, “What’s your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel [He Struggles With God], because you have struggled with God and with men—and you have won.”
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
The man answered, “Why do you ask for my name?” Then he blessed Jacob there. So Jacob named that place Peniel [Face of God], because he said, “I have seen God face to face, but my life was saved.” The sun rose as he passed Penuel. He was limping because of his hip.
Jacob, a man with a checkered past, was camped by a river by himself about to face an uncertain situation in the morning. The “man” that comes and wrestles with him, is actually God. So when I say that my current struggle is with God, it resembles this wrestling match. Sometimes it is unavoidable….God wrestles with us.
…“then a man wrestled with him“, which puts God as the initiator of this conflict. It shows that God cares about us too much to just leave us alone, when there is something that needs to be addressed. For weeks there has been an issue I have been dealing with, and God has given me plenty of indicators of how I should handle it. In my stubbornness, I ignored Him and did the exact opposite, but just like Jacob, He found me and we wrestled.
“…he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that it was dislocated.” We become conquerors of our struggles, sometimes only, by being injured in the conflict. Jacob’s injury was to his hip, while mine was to my heart. Nevertheless, in both cases it is a reminder of what has been overcome.
“I won’t let you go until you bless me.” Jacob holds on and is not going to quit until he gets God’s blessing. We should also want what God has for us so much that we won’t let go of his promises, and if we are wrestling with Him because we have fallen short, we can’t let that guilt cause us to let go.
“Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel [He Struggles With God], because you have struggled with God and with men—and you have won.” God first asks Jacob his name, although he obviously knows the answer, before He gives him a new name with a new significance. He is showing Jacob that what he used to be is no longer, but God has made him into something new.
All of my “doing” that I mentioned earlier, even though good activities, could not accomplish what a WWF smack-down with God could. Wrestling with God, shows us the reality of who we are (“What’s your name?”) so that we can be changed (“Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel”), and then we can be blessed. We may carry the reminder of this confrontation with God, (He was limping because of his hip.) but the end result is worth the fight! (but my life was saved.)