I’ve come across some situations in the last few months where my heart was unsettled. I wasn’t sure why…I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was a check in my spirit that I couldn’t deny. I would think and ponder, usually in the quiet hours of the night when the rest of my house was sleeping. During the day my mind would wander as I mulled over my situation. Who was right? Who was wrong? What do I do? I had few answers. Only the same questions circling around like a revolving door in my mind.
Finally one day I felt the Lord speak to my heart that He wanted me to wrestle with Him. All my questions and ponderings, bring it before Him and work it out with Him. He wasn’t upset that I was searching and stirring, He just wanted to be a part of it. He doesn’t want me to leave Him sitting on the sidelines while I stress out over how to handle something. He’s a loving Father and wants to guide me, as any loving Father would. Then I remembered a patriarch in the Bible.
In Genesis 32:22-32 we see Jacob wrestling with God. The scene opens with Jacob afraid for his life and the lives of his family because his brother Esau, who wanted to kill him many years ago, is coming to meet him with 400 men. I love that the scene opens this way. It showed me that I don’t have to run or hide my circumstances from God. Even when I’m in a mess…even if it’s a mess I made, the Lord will be there to help. So Jacob is afraid and has just prayed for help. (Coming to the Lord when you’re afraid is always a good plan.) Jacob then gets this great idea to shower his brother with gifts in hopes they will appease Esau. Then, when Jacob is alone, God shows up and God and Jacob wrestle all through the night.
Wrestling with God all through the night seems a bit odd but think of it this way. In the nighttime hours, when all the world is blanketed with quiet in rest, that is the time many of us wrestle with problems, worries and fears. During the day we are often busy and have noise around us. It’s not until the stillness of night that we finally stop and really pay attention to what needs to addressed. Our anxious thoughts go around and around in our head until finally we ask the Lord for help and begin to dialogue with Him. Laying out our heart and getting the Lord’s perspective. This is the modern day wrestling with God.
As Jacob wrestled he continued to ask the Lord to bless Him and he got what He asked for. It may be hard to see the blessing because what most of us see is that Jacob got a limp. Where’s the blessing in that? Let’s look a little closer. The Lord gave Jacob a new name, Israel, which means he struggles with God. Not only a new name but a new identity. No longer was he known as deceiver (which is what Jacob means) but now he is one who struggles with God and men and has overcome. Now that’s a new identity that gives you some confidence.
As for me, I have continued to bring my questions before the Lord along with the heartache and offenses that have weighed me down. I have done my struggling in front of the Lord and He has been faithful to show me scriptures I need, speak through others and give me peace. My questions aren’t all answered yet but I’m so glad I’m not wrestling through these situations alone.