Wrestling with God
"I will not let go until you bless me."
"Though this may hurt like hell, your blessing is better then life itself so I will cling to your promises."
When is the last time you told God that you would go through whatever it takes- to rise with Him on the other side? That nothing on this earth- pain or darkness or fear- could separate your from the relationship you have.
Maybe it's been a long time since you've needed God like Jacob did. Maybe you've grown too content with the way life is treating you, and if your honest you haven't really needed a Savior- because your life has been about yourself. And maybe instead of experiencing a radical life with God, you've settled for riding on the fence spiritually.
Or maybe right now, you are keenly aware of how desperate your need is for Jesus and how messy your life is without him. Maybe you understand too closely the pull of addiction, the fear of rejection, or the struggle of depression, that you face without Him. Maybe you see the darkness within you that is changed to light when Jesus Christ comes in. With His power you know that you can free, but you know that you are a captive and a sinner without Him.
Meet Jacob- a man who knew darkness and shame, but also the saving power and grace of God. Re-introduce yourself to the God who writes beautiful stories-- using even some of the hardest things in our life.
Born of Rebecca and Isaac- parents who were brought together under God's provision and providence- Jacob was the slightly younger twin of Esau. It is thought that Jacob was a quieter, momma's boy and Esau was a woodsy- hunter who Isaac adored.
Unfortunately this Christian family suffered from some major chaos, disruption, and brokenness when Jacob tricked Esau into giving him his birth right for a cup of soup and later deceived his very own father by stealing Esau's blessing. This literally split the family in two- and Esau was angry and ready to kill Jacob- so Jacob ran away.
Imagine now, time passing, and Jacob realizing what he has done. He has stolen from very own brother, deceived his father who was getting ready to die. Jacob has let down his entire family and is now struggling with guilt and shame and identity issues.
Though Jacob has broken himself off from his family, and God knows he has messed up, God still doesn't leave him when he calls for help. God leads him to a women in Paddan Aram- who he is forced to work 7 years for- and then another 7 for Rachel. It seems Rachel and Jacob are madly in love. Jacob continues to work for Rachel and Leah's father Laban for a while, and start a family, before Jacob gathers his possessions (as well as many spotted lambs) and leaves the country. Jacob knows that He has promised Him great blessings, land, and family if he goes back to his own country. Yet He knows that he has baggage he needs to figure out. He knows that he will encounter Esau on his journey and he is terrified.
Jacob may have been walking with God, and doing the right things for a while now, many years have passed. But that doesn't take away the shame, guilt, and fear Jacob feels. He still remembers the day he deceived his family out of selfishness. Longing for God, he is deeply afraid and feels darkness all around him. It is likely one of the hardest, deepest, and darkest moments of his life... when he meets an angel in the most likely way.
While Jacob spent night in his camp alone battling the voices and lies in his head, a strange man approached him and began to fight. They wrestled til day break- so probably all night long- many hours through exhaustion and pain. And then the man touched the socket of his hip wrenching his hip bone and said "Let me go now since it's daybreak." Yet because the man had revealed divine power Jacob replied in faith "I will not let you go until you bless me." Jacob wasn't afraid anymore for he had been fighting his demons, and fears, and darkness all night long. But He hadn't been doing it alone. He'd been fighting his own battles and fighting with an angel. And He had the faith to say..
I won't give up now.
You've brought me this far. You've changed my life- God. You've done miracles and revealed to me who you are. So even though you've crushed my hip, I'm not letting go of you. I am going to do whatever it takes to keep you in my life. I am willing to fight every battle that means I can overcome on your side.
And Jacob is deeply rewarded for his faith and He is given a new name Israel.
And God is willing to do the same thing for us. His love and redemption is not just for Jacob, it's for you and for me. God has the power to change sinners into saints. He can heal all of our winds. His love can cast out demons. It is higher and bigger and stronger than any valley or darkness, any addiction, or difficulty we may face.
And God wants to come into our hearts, he is actively pursuing our minds. But sometimes we have to realize that it's going to take a battle. And are we willing to fight for God? Are we willing to fight for his presence and his spirit? That even in the darkest place in our hardest battle, we would let God come through for us?