FROM THE PASTOR

Genesis 32:22-31

22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Wrestling? There are only two references to wrestling in the Bible. The one found in the scripture above and one in Colossians, which is different in that it refers to wrestling in prayer.

It is here, in Genesis, that we actually have a wrestling match. Jacob vs. God. Have you ever wrestled with God? It is hard for me to imagine what it would be like to have a physical wrestling match with God! However, I can easily imagine, and you may too, a spiritual wrestling match with God. At times in our lives many of us, if not all, wrestle with doing the right thing “spiritually” or “worldly”. What the world expects of us is oftentimes easier and more self-satisfying than what God expects of us. We may be on our way to a movie, ballgame or other event when we see someone in need: Whether it be a flat tire or whatever. At times like that, we may say to ourselves: “If I stop and help I will be late to the game!” So, we pass the person in need so we can do what WE want to do. Yet, God will be speaking to our hearts and mind saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself. In helping them, you have helped me.”

The wrestling match is on! “But Lord, I will miss that which ‘I’ wish to do.” And God counters, “My child, what is more important? What you want or what your brothers and sisters need?” Then we say, “But Lord, what you are asking is very difficult. I paid for a ticket and I’ve really been looking forward to this.” Then we hear, “My child, I love you. I will always love you. I ask that you love one another as I love you. And I would never abandon you on the side of the road or anywhere else. Do I ask so much of you?”

Hopefully, at that point we turn around to help. I cannot imagine doing otherwise. Wrestle with God? Yes. Often. But rather than putting our hips out of joint, God puts our hearts and minds in line. Praise be to God!

Grace, Peace & Mercy to all,

Wes