Wrestling With God

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break.

Genesis 32:24

What an extraordinary story! After Jacob had done everything he could to prepare for his meeting with Esau, a "man" appeared in the wilderness and wrestled with Jacob for a whole night. It turned out this man was a physical representation of God himself. God, through the form of the man, wrestled with Jacob, injured his hip, blessed him with a new name, and proclaimed that he had been victorious in his battle with God and man.

Sometimes our relationship with God can feel like a wrestling match. We sense God's call, but resist. We ask for God's favor, and when he doesn't respond, we keep on asking. The example of Jacob encourages us to keep on in relationship with God, even when it feels like a wrestling match. After all, God didn't punish Jacob completely. He injured him physically but also blessed him magnificently.

I can't help thinking of a book I wrote on this theme, No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer. In this book I examined the Psalms, finding encouragement to hold nothing back in our relationship with God. The story of Jacob wrestling with God makes this same point dramatically.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever "wrestled" with God? What happened? Do you feel the freedom to open your heart completely to God in prayer, to share your fear, your anger, your doubt?

PRAYER: Gracious God, I am deeply moved by the story of Jacob wrestling with this "man." Though you and I have never wrestled physically, we have grappled time and again in prayer. Thank you, dear Lord, for making yourself so available to me. Thank you for not simply wiping me out because of my resistance to you. Thank you for remaining in relationship with me, for holding on to me with strength and mercy.

Dear Lord, give me greater freedom in prayer. May I hold nothing back in my communication with you. As I open my heart fully to you, do your work in me, so that I might do your work in this world. Amen.


SUGGESTED RESOURCE: If you're interested, you can order No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer.