Lately I have been feeling like Jacob, in a wrestling match with God. Actually, if I think about it, this has been a match that has been going on for a long time.
Jacob is one of those characters you love to hate. I remember a pastor mentioning in one of his sermons a few years ago that he would never name his child Jacob.
My husband and I looked at one another with smiles on our faces. That is the name of our youngest son. And completely off topic but I have to admit, he fits the meaning of the name!
But let’s get back to the Jacob of the Bible. Right before he had this wrestling match with God, he was preparing to meet his brother Esau. You know…the one he had deceived. He was in fear of his life, not sure at what his brother’s reaction would be when he finally saw him.
He basically attempts to butter up his brother with gifts. He is thinking that will pacify him and help him to forget the number of times he had been tricked by Jacob.
So that night, as Jacob is alone with his thoughts of worry and fear, God begins to wrestle with him. I think these wrestling matches are most intense when we are in the same state, alone with our thoughts.
This match went on all night long. Finally, when the sun is coming up, Jacob says that he won’t let go unless he is blessed.
Now here is something we need to hang on to. Jacob wasn’t going to give up. Can you imagine the strain and the struggle that was involved? But he wasn’t willing to give up until he had what he was looking for.
I am in that place right now. I want to give up. I want to walk away from the match but I know that I can’t be blessed until I finish it.
Now let’s get back to the story. It’s at this point he finally gets rid of the name and the stigma attached to it. He is no longer Jacob. He is Israel.
I love this verse: “Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’”
You can’t overcome if you give up. I know this isn’t some earth shattering truth I am sharing with you. But I feel that others, like me, only have head knowledge of this. We haven’t allowed it to sink deep into our hearts.
So I am saying out loud to myself, “YOU CANNOT OVERCOME…YOU CANNOT GET THE VICTORY…UNLESS YOU HOLD ON. DON’T LET GO. KEEP WRESTLING UNTIL YOU GET WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.”
In the end, Israelwalks away but it’s with a limp. There was some hurt done in that struggle. But I bet he would say it’s worth it.
Photo by emdot in Flickr