“And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.” Genesis 32:24
“With whom you have to do” describes the One whom you absolutely cannot do without. He is the one who not only brought you into being, but determines your future. It is with Him you must wrestle. We wrestle with many people, things, and ideas in life, but apart from Him, it is pretty much fruitless wrestling which will ultimately bring about no positive eternal result. But who wrestles with God? Is this even possible?
In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles with God. Most likely as in other Old Testament appearances of “The Lord,” this is Jesus in His pre-incarnate state. Job wrestles with God verbally and very straightforwardly throughout the Book that bears his name, and God rewards him for it, while criticizing his counselors. Moses wrestles with God, not wanting to be the one who confronts Pharaoh as God’s spokesman, and at one point to become the one whom he asks God to remove from the Book of Life in substitute for his rebellious kinsmen, so that they might be saved in his stead. Abraham wrestles with God over how many righteous people are necessary to save Sodom from destruction. These men of God wrestle directly with God because they know to a certainty that He is the determiner of all that happens.
So how do these examples speak to your own dealings with God? Are you to wrestle with God as well? And just how do you do that?
One, do not blame your misfortunes on other people or events, but take them first to God. Ask why. Ask Him to remove them or at least make you stronger to bear them. Tell God truly what you are thinking. Even if your thoughts are negative towards Him, do not hold back; tell Him so. Deal with Him in honesty. Wrestle with Him in prayer. Tell Him as Jacob did that you will not let Him go until He blesses you or answers you.
Before anyone else, take your complaints to God. Take your praises to God immediately, too. Think of Him as the one whom you want to tell first, whether good or bad, complaining or thanking. But normally, wrestling with Him is about trouble in your life you wish changed or wishing you were in a whole different place or situation. God determines where you are now and whether there is going to be a change. If you don’t like it, wrestle with Him.
God is such a companion. He is the closest, most knowing of any friend or partner. Since we can get pretty adamant in our thoughts and conclusions about a matter, it requires a wrestling with God as to the best course to take or not take. That wrestling may well require a good amount of time on your knees before Him. It is always time well spent. May it be a habit.
“We come, O Christ, to You, true Son of God and man by whom all things consist, in whom all life began; in You alone we live and move and have our being in Your love.”
(1st verse of Margaret Clarkson’s hymn, “We Come, O Christ, to You,” 1957)
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