Saturday, January 17, 2009

JACOB GOES TO THE MAT


In Genesis 32 Jacob wrestles with God. Although he seems to hold his own throughout the night, he cannot win. God dislocates Jacob’s hip and wins the match. But amazingly, even though he was in incredible pain, Jacob maintains his grip and will not release it until God blesses him. The blessing he receives is a change of name. He will no longer be Jacob the Usurper or Jacob the Deceiver, he will be the man who “struggled with God and with men” and overcame.

I was raised to never argue with God. It was wrong. It was rebellious. It was sinful. So I learned not to fight with God. No matter what happened I learned to bite my tongue, keep my silence, and think, “It must be God’s will.” Even when it made no sense. Even when it hurt like crazy.

Then my very young wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Not just any brain tumor. A brain tumor that returned over and over and over again until it turned into cancer and she died after 18 years of fighting. I alternated between fighting with God and falling on my face and begging. That’s when I realized that God would rather have me wrestle with him than pretend to be all right with everything that was going on in my life.

With that freedom I began to wrestle with God more often. There have been a number of things in the last nine years that have pushed me out onto the mat with God. Like Jacob, I’ve never won. But also like Jacob, I have been blessed over and over again.

Perhaps that’s the point. God’s people were named after Jacob. They were the people who struggled with God and overcame. The church is the “new Israel.” We are the people who struggle with God. I realized that people who are drawn close to God are almost forced to wrestle with him. He is so God and we are not. His ways are not our ways. His wisdom and power are so far above and beyond our own. How can we not struggle with him? I’m almost at the point of thinking that people who don’t wrestle with God will never get to know him the way he wants to be known! They will never receive the blessings that come from the struggle.

Jacob called that place Peniel. “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” That is where I live. Peniel. I saw God face to face and wrestled with him and he still spared my life. What grace and mercy!

5 Comments:

At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrestling with God can be painful - as you know. However, you are right that it is better to honestly wrestle with God than to falsely ignore the issue. God's glory demands that we wrestle with him - and lose.

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Mr Anonymous,

I really like your last line... God's glory demands that we wrestle with him - and lose! Very good! Thanks

 
At 11:16 AM, Blogger Craver Vii said...

Oh this is awesome! The lesson you learned is useful, and I'm glad you shared it. I can respect your position easier than those who irreverently yell at God and get mad at Him without fear.

My pastor preached on the same thing this past Sunday!! This was a passage of Scripture that always troubled me. He opened with a description of a father and son wrestling. Although the boy doesn't stand any realistic chance of conquering his dad, the point is not to beat the child, but through the struggle, to teach the lad how to win.

I was saving those thoughts for a blog post, but when I saw this post, I just had to spill my guts.

Shalom.

 
At 6:10 PM, Anonymous troy gentz said...

I wrestled with this guy once and just like Jacob I ended up in pain and did not win - I call that place pinville -- great post-you are a gifted writer - I will now be reading your blog - have a great one dave

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger chloe666666 said...

There is a video here that shows you how to change your name by Deed Poll: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK2mY2TaUOQ. It's also on this website here: www.thelegaldeedpollservice.org.uk


I did it with them it was a really good service i changed my name from chloe thistle to chloe the animal balloon maker as im an entertainer

 

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