Monday, April 15, 2013
Wrestling with God
This week, I've been looking at Genesis 32 where we are told the story of Jacob wrestling with God. We all wrestle with God from time to time as we struggle with our faith, and while we may not be physically going round and round with an angel of God like Jacob, our struggle is no less real or valid. We are told that they wrestled all night into the morning and Jacob didn't give up. As hopeless as it may have seemed at various points through the long night, as tired as he must have been, as much as he may have wanted to give up, he continued to put his whole strength and will into it. So we too should "continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling... for in that struggle "God works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13) and we know that "he who began a good work in us will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6) In other words, it is in our very struggles, those moments we are fearful, hesitant, selfish, unwilling, and don't understand and yet still seek Jesus that he makes us fearless, confident, selfless, eager and wise. And he will not stop growing and maturing us in faith until the job is done.
Jacob's struggle is not without purpose - he seeks the blessing of the Lord as he is about to come face to face with his past and seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Seeking forgiveness is a very humbling thing. There is no way to beg for a forgiveness we can never earn and still maintain our pride. So often, that is the root of our struggle with God-the reality of our humility which is all too clear when in the presence of a holy God verses the pride that builds up in our hearts and minds when we are distracted and lose sight of Jesus. Jacob did receive God's blessing when morning broke, but not before suffering an injury that caused him to limp. Some of the strongest people I know look like the weakest. They have scars and limp or shuffle as if they can't lift their feet of the ground, but they have weathered the biggest storms imaginable. Like warriors who have returned home weary from a long war, they appear broken, but indeed are victorious. They have developed an endurance and been empowered by a courage that others could never know. It is their struggle that has not only wounded them but has taught them how to live and as they celebrate the victory given them by God, they teach us how to face those same kind of struggles in our own faith and life.
I have come to a point in my walk where, more often than not, I can celebrate the scars and wounds from the struggles God has led me to and through and when fresh battles come, I try to remember that, like Jacob, I only have to hang on until the morning to receive God's blessing. Lastly, I rejoice in knowing that it is Jesus, not me, who creates in me the will and ability to serve him. He grows in me an ever increasing desire to seek his will and by his power and grace, fulfills his will within me as I share what He has taught me with others.
Posted by Maureen Profeta