TO WRESTLE WITH GOD

Genesis 32:22-32
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

This is an amazing story.
Wrestling with God,
and winning,
or at least not losing.
How many times have we done this—
wrestled with God,
struggled with God-thoughts,
fought hard with the possibilities
of God
only to discover that the hard
tussle
was really with ourselves.
I think we can understand this
Jacob/Israel wrestling
and renaming match
as an inward struggle.
Trying to figure out
how to slip
out of the messes
he had gotten himself into.
In an earlier text,
good old Jacob had lied and
tricked his
father into giving him
God’s blessing
thereby stealing
it from his older brother,
Esau.
He was now
on the lam
for opportunizing and repurposing
his father-in-law, Laban’s,
wealth to his own end.
It seems Jacob-cum-Israel
had a questionable character—
one with many
cracks, chips, bumps and blisters.
This is who was putting the squeeze on God.
But aren’t we all God-wrestlers?
Don’t we all have
cracks, chips, bumps and blisters?
This story shows me above all else that God
wants the best for us all,
desires
for us to survive our struggles
and various desperations,
and that most of the wrangling
we think might be with God
is actually with ourselves.
We do get ourselves into messes.
God,
through friends,
good leaders,
our own common sense,
and better choices
will help us get out of them,
and into the fullness
of the blessings
into which
we are living.

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