“Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him all night until daybreak. when the man saw that He could not defeat him, He struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. the man said ‘let me go for it is daybreak.’ but Jacob said, i will not go unless You bless me.’ ‘what is your name?’ the man asked. ‘Jacob,’ he replied. ‘your name will no longer be Jacob,’ the man said, ‘it will be Israel.” Genesis 32:24-26
Somehow, somewhere along the way we’ve taken on this notion that in order to be a “good Christian” we better sit there nodding our head with the congregation with our legs crossed and our hands folded in our wrinkle-free, perfectly pressed Sunday best.
We’ve been ingrained with this idea that we can’t rock the boat, that we can’t question God, that wrestling with Him, fighting Him on something would make us any less a believer, but i think that often it’s in the digging deep, getting dirt under your nails, putting up a fight that we come face to face with the power and perfection of God’s love for us.
Jacob was rocking the boat and causing a scene from day one. Sounds like a little blonde girl i know, sorry mom. I go back to his life a lot. A young man marked from birth by cheating and deception, has a life-altering encounter with Jesus and he would never be the same. Because that’s what happens when Jesus steps in, nothing is ever the same.
i LOVE it when God uses messed up people, means i still have a chance 🙂
In the beginning of Genesis 32 God called Jacob to do something that would involve him being uncomfortable and confronting some dead things in his life. some fears. some anxieties. some wounds that he put bandaids on that really needed surgery. Later on in the chapter, Jacob panics and he literally, physically wrestles with God. i love how intentional Scripture is in telling us that they wrestled in the middle of the night.
So often we believe that our identity, our blessing and everything the Lord has for our lives is waiting on the other side of our struggle. that we will find who we are and what we are purposed to do after the wrestle, but get this—Jacob received a new name in the middle of the wrestle.
Jacob, once the son of fear and slave to his anxiety, now Israel, Father of nations and of kings. his blessing came just before day began to break.
His blessing was in the wrestle.
“Jacob then named the place Peniel [Face of God], ‘For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “and I have been delivered.'” Genesis 32:30
I think though, my favorite thing about this story is that it paints the picture that God is going to get His glory no matter how a story ends, and that sometimes it’s not the healing, but the living with the limp that bears evidence of deliverance and the hand of God.
Our minds were created for wonder, they crave to question. they we’re wired in the mirror image of a God who’s imagination is untamed, a God who is so wildly intricate and so creatively in the details of our lives. it’s the questioning, it’s the making waves from rocking the boat, it’s the wondering, and yes, sometimes it’s the wrestling that brings the revelation and a deeper understanding of who God is, who God has purposed us to be and what He has positioned our life for.