A friend asked me the other day what I’ve been going through.
As I tried to describe it, I struggled to come up with the words.
After careful contemplation I came up with the best thing I could-
wrestling with God.
Now, at first I hardly dared mention it, something about that seemed so wrong.
As if I shouldn’t ever do such a thing or at least admit to it.
But as I drove home I considered that. And I remembered Jacob.
Who, after years of being selfish and deceptive spent one very long night locked on the floor mat with God himself. Wrestling. Working out his issues.
What exactly did that wrestling entail? Was it physical? Very.
Was is spiritual? Commentators suggest that is was. The chapter that tells us the story even tells us he cried out during the night. Probably exhausted on every level. Probably facing his past and his mistakes. Asking with desperation for God’s hand in his future. And refusing to unlock himself from the grasp of God until he was blessed. It’s kind of an odd story, if you think about it. Whenever I read a story in scripture, I can’t help but ask “Now why is it that this particular passage made the cut? What about it was significant enough that God would want it in here for thousands of years and generations to come? And as I mulled that over with Jacob, I was again reminded of some serious truth….
Wrestling by nature is extremely intimate. Extremely intertwined. You don’t wrestle with someone without getting to know them better. You pick up on their strength. Their go-to moves. Their way of weaving and moving. It’s almost a unique sort of dance, but there’s even more contact. And it can be stretching. Or painful. You can hurt yourself. You can’t ever really predict the outcome. Think about all of that while wrestling with God, and it can seem a bit frightening. Ah, but it can also be the most amazing, exhilarating, and beautiful experience in the world.
If God has allowed (or perhaps even invited) you to wrestle with Him, it’s actually an invitation to know Him more. Almost nothing could be more intimate that getting down on the floor and locking arms, legs, and bodies. Going head to head. You get to know Him better. You see new things about Him. You learn more about His strengths-and yours while you’re at it. You are tangled up together so closely it might almost be difficult to tell who’s leg that is sometimes.
It’s exhausting. But exhilarating. It may be painful but your muscles have gotten stronger. And you never really leave that match without learning something new from the experience. So if and when we have the opportunity to wrestle things out with God, let’s not walk away. Let’s not refuse. Let’s be ready for the challenge. Let’s bear down and lock ourselves into it. And let’s not let up too soon, either. For the blessings that will come after a long match will change us from the inside out.