Genesis 32:22-32 tells an incredible story of Jacob literally wrestling with God. As I read it again I found what I’ve always found about it…it’s intriguing, delightful…and preposterous! I mean, who wrestles with God Himself???
Then I realized again…I do.
Not literally like Jacob did. But I do wrestle. And there are seasons when I do a lot of wrestling with God.
This short, unique passage provides a lot to think about, and perhaps some insight into the why’s and how’s of wrestling with God.
6 Observations About Wrestling with God We Learn from the Story of Jacob
1. Often the wrestling begins unexpectedly.
Jacob found himself alone in the camp and suddenly he was wrestling with someone he’d never seen before. The times we wrestle with God can come out of the blue. Not for Him, but for us.
2. The wrestling can last a long time.
I can’t imagine literally wrestling with anyone for hours, let alone God. But Jacob wrestled all night. I like to have answers. I want to know NOW. I want resolution. Sometimes God would prefer that I fight a little longer.
3. Wrestling can be painful.
God finally “touched” Jacob’s hip out of socket. That must’ve hurt! And he lived with it the rest of his life, I’m sure reminding him of this night whenever the pain grabbed him. Sometimes wrestling with God leads to painful experiences. I have learned that pain can be a good thing – it teaches & reminds of His faithfulness…though it is never welcome.
4. We need to hang on until we get what God has for us.
Now this is a part that I don’t get, but it says that God asked Jacob to let Him go but Jake wouldn’t do that. I’ll leave it at that & ask God when I get to heaven. The point is Jacob wanted something. Notice he didn’t ask WHY they were wrestling. No, he wanted God’s blessing in his life, and he wouldn’t let go until he got it! There’s something to be said of a tenacious pursuit of God.
5. God might leave some things unanswered.
Jacob got his blessing, but he also wanted to know the name of the guy he was wrestling. “Nope, not gonna tell you” is basically what God said. That had to be ok with Jacob, and sometimes not having all the answers has to be ok with us, too. God lets us know everything we need to know, and apparently Jake understood enough in the end to know that he just came face to face with God Himself!
6. It’s OK to wrestle with God.
Understanding this, perhaps more than anything else, can be life-changing. At one time I felt it unacceptable to wrestle with God. You can’t be mad at God, or fight with Him, or even question Him…can you? You want to be careful with what is & is not acceptable, and I won’t even pretend to fully understand the dynamics, but when I read of Moses arguing with God over His people, or Jacob wrestling with God, or any number of other stories that tell of similar incidents, I begin to think that maybe God WANTS me to wrestle a little. In the end, painful as it may be, perhaps He wants to teach me something that I will not otherwise discover. As I’ve gone through different seasons in life, I’ve discovered that it’s OK to wrestle with God sometimes.
What have you learned from wrestling with God?
(Please share in comments below)