When I first looked at Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestled with God, the application struck me a little differently than it does today as I look back over it. It’s true that we often struggle with God one way or another. It’s also significant to see the motive Jacob had for his struggle.
Jacob struggled with God for the purpose and desire to be blessed by God. This is saying a great deal, especially considering his natural bent—to depend on himself, his own wiliness in his situation—but not this night. This night Jacob recognized a world beyond the physical, a world he could neither manipulate nor control.
Yet, Jacob desired a blessing. Don’t we all? Jacob desired a blessing and somehow he knew the key to his life lay with this “man.” So, he wrestled—wrestling with the knowledge that real blessing comes from God.
So here this night is in some ways not so different from the night long ago as he fled away from home. Then, he was heading toward the unknown with a stolen blessing. Now, once again the unknown awaits; and if there is one thing he needs, it’s a blessing—not the kind people give but the kind that truly matters.
Jacob does not give up. He struggles, and as he wrestles he realizes he struggles with something far greater than himself. This time, so unlike with his father, he seeks a blessing, not with duplicity, pretending he’s someone he isn’t’, but he asks for it outright. Without giving up, he struggles on hour after hour all through the dark night.
So I ask myself: Do I desire the blessing of God as Jacob did? How willing am I to hold on to God—all through the dark nights and days of life? To wrestle till there is blessing. To wrestle till morning’s golden light.
To wrestle for a blessing means something so different from materialism and fame. To wrestle with God is to really know Him and know we need Him. To hold on in times of the unknown and fear. To hang on both night and day. To never give up on Him. To always be amazed by Him and that He regards us individually, not as some mass creation or robot He’s put into motion.
In the morning “Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
To wrestle with God is to hold fast always because we know God. We touch Him and He spares us in all His omnipotence. And though He should wound us, we still wrestle—we wrestle for His blessing.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything