Jacob Wrestles with God (Genesis 32:22-30)
22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his 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 has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, 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 name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
Day two into the year of 2012 and I am still completely and utterly amazed by how God worked in my heart over INDYCC during those last 4 days of 2011. Before INDYCC, I constantly found myself wrestling with the circumstances in my life:
a. my future: What should I do with my art degree? I graduate in a semester. What was I going to do with my life. Consistently being asked, “What are you going to do after you graduate?” I kept taking the easy way out. I responded with something like, “I will probably go to graduate school for art history.” Almost a year ago, God put something on my heart and I continued to push it away. I ignored what God was saying to me and kind of just shrugged it off. I forgot about it for a while, but then when school started up again, there it was again. I wrestled with the fear of not being good enough. The journey that God was taking me on scared me.
b. my parents divorce: Constantly wrestling with my parents divorce that happened a year ago, I was still trying to fix everything, be the strong one and put my family back together. I wrestled with God in the fact that I didn’t understand why something like that had to happen to my family and why wasn’t He helping me fix it.
c. my relationship with my mom: Recently divorcing my dad, my mom began a new relationship. She’s already engaged to the guy. I don’t understand the way she has been handling the situation. She neglects the family and didn’t go to Thanksgiving or Christmas, which was weird since my mom kind of organizes everything. I felt like I was constantly having to forgive my mom and she would just keep doing this ridiculous things. I was the only one to visit my mom and her fiance on Christmas. I wrestled with this circumstance and fought with God on why she couldn’t just open her eyes… I felt like I was the only one trying to be strong and still have a relationship with my mom, despite the betrayal I had received.
But guess what?!?!?! GOD IS GREATER THAN ALL OF THAT! IndyCC rocked my world! He is greater than my relationship with my mom, the fear I have for what God is calling me toward, and He’s greater than my parent’s divorce.
Instead of trusting God, Jacob sent waves and waves of presents to Esau in effort to appease him. Jacob feared Esau when he heard that Esau was on his way with 400 men (Genesis 32:6). We all have the name and nature of Jacob. We all have his tendency to wrestle with life and our circumstances. I find myself always trying to take things into my own hands or to set my own agenda and plans. I try to be so strong and work things out on my own. But, everytime I do this the result is always the same: a mess of things that drives me to the river gorge, the banks of our own Jabbok (Genesis 32:22). My family problems, financial problems, relational problems, and fear of the future took me to that river gorge…but in those, God has revealed Himself in the person of a loving, caring Savior: JESUS!
In Christ, we can have a new name, new nature, a new destiny, and secure future. In Jacob’s wrestle with God, his faith and understanding was growing. God blessed Jacob, not because He had to or was forced to, but because Jacob was ready to receive it. When changing Jacob’s name, God was saying, “This is who you were. From now on, you are the one who prevails with God, not wrestles with Him.”
It took INDYCC to make me realize that when I wrestle with life, I’m wrestling with God. I have to surrender my life, my wills, my dreams, and schemes to the Lordship of Christ and let Him change me. In those listed three areas/gaps of my life, God will do His best work in me. He can make a new person out of my circumstances. God is greater than my fears and future. It’s not about what His plan is for my life, but what my place is in HIS PLAN. When God calls you, He will stand with you. IndyCC made me realize that I have to stop wrestling with God and my life, but cling to Him and be comforted by the fact that He’s got this!
We have to stop wrestling and start clinging to God!
“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” —Isaiah 49:16
[Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, Eugene Delacroix]