Who are you wrestling with in your life? Your spouse, your kids, an in-law, a neighbor? Or maybe you’re wrestling with your finances, a car, your job, or even your health. One thing for sure is we’re all wrestling with the restrictions and affects of this quarantine right now.
IT’S. NOT. EASY.
If you're in a wrestling match right now … congratulations!! If you’re encountering a conflict in your life, the problem is likely deeper than you realize. YOU my friend, are wrestling with God. Let's take a look at Genesis 25 and 32.
Genesis 25: Here we find a man’s life that can be described in one word … conflict. To give you some background, Jacob was born fighting with his twin brother, Esau, literally came out of the womb "grasping the heel of his brother" vs 25:21-26. Later, Jacob tricked his brother out of his inheritance (vs 29-34). To say Esau was not happy with Jacob would be an understatement. But it wasn’t long before Jacob got a taste of his own medicine! He was tricked by a man named Laban.
After working for Laban the agreed upon seven years to marry his daughter, Rachel, Jacob was told it would cost him another seven years of labor to gain the blessing of marrying Rachel. Talk about a long engagement! After 14 years, it was time to part ways from Laban, and Jacob planned to sneak his new family out of town. The only problem was, Jacob had no where to go except back to his hometown where another problem awaited, his brother Esau.
Genesis 32: When Esau heard that his brother was coming home, it wasn’t water under the bridge. Esau sent an army of 400 men to face Jacob. Like many of us, Jacob was stuck between a rock and a hard place. His options were slim and none and he was facing the consequences of a lifetime of bad choices. Jacob was terrified(Genesis 32:7). And he finally surrendered and prayed to the Lord (Genesis 32:9-11).
The problems you’re facing with your spouse, career, appearance, you name it … is only a mere symptom of a greater conflict in your life. The Bible tells us that Jacob spent the next night, literally, wrestling with God. How many of us know who is going to win that match? Like Jacob, you and I know that we’re going to wear out before God does. But did you know that God actually wants to wrestle with you? Wrestling is a contact sport. It doesn't bother God to wrestle with you, to hear your complaints and your anger and your needs. Why? Because it means that you’re up close to Him. Your relationship is finally getting personal. For you it may sound like shouting … WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING?! Why are you doing this God?! When will this end?! etc. etc... And that’s okay! God blesses those who realize their need for Him (Matthew 5:3).
Jacob may have surrendered by turning to God, but he wasn’t ready to change his ways. He and God wrestled ALL night. Maybe you’re in the same boat. Maybe you’re open to having a conversation with God, but are you willing to let Him call the shots? Jacob and God wrestled to the point where God says it's time to call it. It’s a momentous turning point for Jacob. Is he going to change his ways or not? To which Jacob responds, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Can you imagine?! Listen to the incredible passion Jacob displays here. He’s literally clinging to the Lord and refusing to let go until he get’s what he needs. He’s like a kid holding on to their dad’s ankle as the dad walks down the hall. And God does bless him and leaves him a little reminder to carry with him the rest of his life. From that all night wrestling match with God, Jacob was left with a permanent limp. A reminder that he could not run from his problems any longer. Instead of running, he needed to rely on God.
If you've been a Christian very long, I can bet you have a specific limp. No, it may not be a literal walking limp, but the limp I'm referring to is a reminder that God left with you to keep you humble and to keep you reliant on Him. You came through that all night wrestling match, but you'll never be the same, and you thank God for that.
Though these are difficult times, it's a great time to dig deeper in your relationship with the Lord. “Consider it all joy... when you encounter various trials”(James 1:2). Hold on until God blesses you! Ask hard questions! Wrestle it out! Seek first the Kingdom of God because I promise that, “He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion,” (Philippians 1:6).
Joe Cogburn said:
Thank you for that reminder. Your teaching has blessed me. Thank you LORD for giving this pastor wisdom to share Your Word. Good stuff man!
Jeremy McGarity said:
Thank you Joe!