Scripture Reading: Genesis 32:22-30
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 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.” Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
I have always had a difficult time with this passage about Jacob wrestling with God. However, since I have been doing this “wrestling with God” myself for the last few days, I am beginning to understand how powerful this passage is for believers in our daily lives.
Most often when we face challenges or difficulties, we assume that these hard times are because of fate or the world that we live in. We blame other people or many times we blame the evil one for these complicated moments in our lives. If we are honest with ourselves we usually just want to give up when faced with difficult times. That would seem to be the better option for most of us because then we are not forced to deal with decisions that are demanding and complex.
In times like these it is important to remember and recognize that God is present and at work in our lives in the midst of our problems. It could be that God is giving us these challenges so that we will learn to rely less on ourselves and more upon God. As humans, we seem to have the need to be constantly reminded that we can’t do it on our own, we need God’s strength and guidance.
Often when we are faced with trials we look to the world that we live in for answers or for direction. In doing so, we turn our attention and focus away from God. It is through these challenging moments in our lives that we must draw closer to our creator and lean on Him.
Consider for a moment that God is placing these strenuous moments in you life in order to make you stronger. In James, chapter 1: 2-4 we read: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
My message today is, don’t give up, continue to persevere and cling to God for direction and answers. When we develop perseverance, we learn to seek God first, when faced with life’s difficult challenges or decisions.