Read: Genesis 32:22-32
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. Genesis 32:24
I have never been a physical fighter. I think I had one physical fight with my best friend in the sixth grade. Not sure who won that match – I think we both got tired of beating on each other then went off playing again. Growing up in rural West Virginia, our school didn’t have a wrestling team so it was not a sport I knew much about.
In today’s scripture we read of a different kind of wrestling match. In this passage the figure is not identified as an angel; it simply says that a “man” wrestles with Jacob. Yet at the end of the passage, Jacob declares that he has seen the “face of God.” Although the encounter takes place at night, the text goes out of its way to say this was not a dream. Jacob is not sleeping when the man appears, the mysterious wrestler is a man and not an angel, and Jacob is left with a real physical injury.
Jacob’s demand for a blessing shows that he recognizes the man as something other than a robber or just someone who wants to injure him. Second, it’s Jacob who declares that this is God. Third, rather than bow down before this figure, he wrestles him to a draw! As a matter of fact, he wrestles all night and gets his hip pulled out of socket. OUCH!
Have you ever wrestled with God? Ever spent all night talking to God? Asking him, begging him, pleading, even arguing your case? Ever been there?
First, let me say that none of us are a match for God, but I do believe that there is a real lesson we can learn from this scripture. Sometimes praying through situations can seem like a wrestling match. Sometimes it’s tough! Ever heard the phrase, “You have to pick your battles”? Prayer is much like that. Even though we think things should go a certain way, even though we pray that way as well… many times God has a better plan! I’ll go even one step further and say that God ALWAYS has a better plan!!
Here may be the problem. Many times we are so headstrong with what we think the answer to our prayer should be that we are too stubborn to consider what God’s plan might be. Thus a wrestling match ensues. God will have the ultimate say! John 14:13-14 says, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” The key is His will! Sometimes it’s a wrestling match.
God help me this day to learn to trust when you have the better idea. I know in my heart that you always want the very best for me and my life. Help me to put my agenda aside and lean in to you this day and every day. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.