My husband was a high school wrestler and I attended many of his wrestling matches years ago. Wrestling is such an unique sport. No extra equipment like a racket, bat, club or any-shaped ball. One on one using just muscles, motions, and maneuvers. The wrestler tries to control and maintain restraining power over his opponent.
Most of the time, I was unaware of what was going on, but I decided if my boyfriend was on top, that was good. If he was on the bottom, not so good. And based on this definition, I guess that was a correct assumption. Wrestling is the activity of grappling with an opponent and trying to throw or hold them down on the ground.
In Genesis 32, we can read about a divinely appointed wrestling match. One opponent is Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. Yeah, the big guns. Jacob has a super-impressive Godly heritage with the line of Jesus continuing through his son, Judah.
But Jacob wasn’t perfect or righteous. He tricked his brother, Esau, out of his birthright and deceived his elderly father. However, Paul reminds us in a God-written history lesson from Romans 9:13, “Just as it is written: Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
The other Opponent was God, the Creator of Everything. The Big Man. This match seems lopsided from the start; the opponents aren’t in the same weight class. Jacob is a lightweight; God is the Ultimate Heavyweight.
The match occurred beside a stream during the night. I think a lot of my wrestling with God happens at night too. Mental takedowns and escapes; reversals and stalling. I plan, plead, plot.
God wants me to let go. He wants me to let go of people, in particular. People whom I think I can fix or change. People whom I have measured and judged and have concluded they should change. “If these people would just do what I tell them to do, everything in my little world would be so much better. Life would be easier for all of us.” Wrestling with big control issues.
Jacob left the wrestling match with a limp, God’s Mighty Blessing and a new name. God renamed him, Israel, meaning “he struggles with God”.
Face-to-face, eye-to-eye, and toe-to-toe- this is the kind of close relationship God wants. When God allows something in your life that you don’t like or understand – honor Him by wrestling with Him about it. Step into Him – not away from Him. And while He may not reveal all of the answers to you about your situation, God will meet you, as He did with Jacob, and give you what you need.
Discover God’s Heart, Devotional Bible, NIV
God is OK with me wrestling with my issues; it means I am aware of them and it honors Him. He is OK with all my issues, my questions, my cries, my many why’s, my confusion, even my doubts. Because wrestling involves working through all this stuff. Wrestling develops my spiritual muscles and causes me to seek Him out by getting into His Word. It keeps me coming back for more of Him.
Jacob, now Israel, says in disbelief, “I saw God face-to-face and yet my life was spared.” He was not the same after his wrestling match; I don’t want to be the same either.
Wrestle and Walk Worthy!