Have you ever thought of how crazy it was for Jacob to wrestle with God? (Genesis 32:22-32) How did it start?  Jacob left where he was at night and he was left alone. Then he wrestled until the breaking of day. When Jacob kept fighting the “man” touched his hip socket (some touch because it went out of joint and left him limping).  The “man” said let go,  but Jacob gave some conditions on that request – saying bless me first. Then they have this strange exchange of what is your name …

Sometimes I wake up thinking about what was on my mind when I went to bed. Especially if it is stressful. I look forward to the scripture that says, his mercies are new every morning. But, have you ever had a night where you toss and turn and never really sleep? It feels like you wrestled with God all through the night like Jacob. Sometimes, at first, I don’t realize that I am wrestling with Almighty God. I think of the person or situation I’m struggling with and ask God why are they doing that? I end up “out of joint.” (v 25)

God knows when we have wrestled through the night. He told Jacob to let go … it’s morning. (v 26)

Besides, his hip was out of joint and Jacob was still fighting. God knows when we are so tired we are delusional and think we can keep fighting … even when we can’t see we are hurt.

I tell God the same thing Jacob did … “God, tell me this trial will lead to blessings and then I will let go!” Still totally in denial that I am almost wiped out. I wish I could think about letting go first and trusting God to bless me for it!

After Jacob said bless me, God said to him, what is your name? God has to say that same thing to me. It sounds like “Who are you, what is your name? Have you forgotten that I am in charge and I cause all things to pass, nothing happens without my approval, I give and take away, I make the sun to shine and the earth to quake. What do you do?”

But what I love is the next part. Jacob’s name changed to Israel meaning, he wrested with God and prevailed!  (Israel may as well mean, in my ignorance I fought God and in what little wisdom I had I gave up on purpose before I died!) God didn’t crush him for wresting and not giving up. God is okay with us wrestling as long as it is with Him, seeking His best and His blessings.

Then, after all this Jacob wondered who could change his name? Eek … imagine his ah ha moment. I can picture him trembling as he asked, “Pleeease tell me your name.” (sounds like he was humbled since he said please). God said, “Why is it that you ask my name?”  Yes, why is it that we question who He is?  I want to recognize God’s hand in the struggles so that He doesn’t have to say to me … why do you question me?  His name is above all names! He is the one in charge! Besides, knowing it is God who just kicked the snot out of him was way better than a man right? I have those ah ha moments, “OH!  It’s You God who decided to let all this happen … I’m fighting you when I don’t let go.”

Then and there God blessed Jacob. Jacob named the place Peniel saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” He left with a limp but with his life.

I cried my eyes out over something this morning. I have to let go and trust God. I couldn’t really form words. I was on my knees and all I could say was, “God, I know You have your best in mind for me.” I didn’t just open my hands and let go, I shoved it in his hands … quick before I change my mind! Then on my feet I paced around my bedroom saying, I know you are good, but this is hard and it really sucks. Yeah, often my prayers are not eloquent but I found David to say it much better in Ps 69:3,13 “I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.”

When I was done, my eyes were totally swollen. Sometimes when we meet God face to face and wrestle with Him we don’t end up with a broken hip … we just look ugly.

Photo courtesy of Guilherme Yagui via Flicker.

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