So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. Genesis 32:24
Genesis 32:24 has been one of my favorite verses for many years because I can relate to it in a personal way. I have wrestled with God (not literally, like Jacob) in my heart and mind many times over the years. We have wrestled over prayer requests, failures, idols, and my own doubts and fears.
When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:25-16
Sometimes I’ve been in a desperate place and others times I’ve momentarily lost my way. I’ve begged Him to take away the thought, the hurt or the trial. Only now and then do I end up with a scar, but scar or no scar, I’m thankful God always shows up and always wins.
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” (v.29-30)
I can’t help but think about Jacob at this moment. Bless his heart. He has finally escaped the long trial of living under the thumb of Uncle Laban and now he discovers he is headed straight into the path of his brother. Remember Esau? Remember how Jacob tricked him and stole his birthright? If I was Jacob, I would have been scared too!
He jumped out of one hot kettle and into another. Then, on top of that, as Jacob sits alone (after sending all his wives, children and servants ahead of him) he has to spend the night wrestling. I’m sure he was to tired and didn’t really want to wrestle. I’ve certainly been there, but you don’t really have the choice when God shows up and wants to make some changes in your heart. Sometimes, you just have to buckle down, hold on and keep moving.
Are you and God wrestling right now? Wrestling a new way for your life? Struggling to release an addiction or sin from your grip? Grappling with fear and anxiety that is trying to paralyze you? Battling old habits while to keep your eyes on God’s face? Are you tired and worn out from all the effort and setbacks?
Don’t give up! It’s worth the match. God is fighting for you and with you to make that change in your heart, prepare you for the next steps ahead and will show you the way. It will not be easy! You may walk away with some scars, but the lessons and growth from this challenge will jump-start your faith and trust in Him in ways we can’t comprehend until we have completed the match.