Good morning! It’s been a while since God’s laid anything particular on my heart to share. A lot has happened in the month or so which has passed. Some of you I’ve spoken with directly and others have gotten emails here and there. Some of you I don’t know personally, but you are loved in Christ nonetheless.
Last time was a little tough. I must have struck a few nerves since I didn’t get much in the way of a response. :-D Honestly, I’m not bothered in the least by the lack of comments. That’s not why I write these blogs. I write them to help others gain a deeper relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. Today, though, some may think I’m writing about them specifically. Nope. There is no one person for whom this applies. It applies to my own life as much as anything. Because of our soul’s deep desire to be closer to God we will inevitably find ourselves in this kind of circumstance in life. It’s how we proceed which will make the difference.
Here’s the Scripture which started all this out today – Genesis 32:24-28
“Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he (the man) saw that he had not prevailed against him (Jacob), he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him (the man). Then he (the man) said, ‘Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.’ But he said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’
So he (the man) said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’
He (the man) said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.’”
I added the little helps for those, like me, who have problems following the pronouns sometimes. :-)
Jacob wrestled with God. While we don’t see God Himself coming down and physically struggling with Jacob, we know this is true. WHY??? Why did Jacob, after having been given the blessing of God’s own promise to him (Genesis 28:11-15) still wrestle?
How about us? Are we not given the promise from God in Jeremiah 29:11? “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” And yet we struggle against Him when we don’t like how the “plans and future” seem to be turning out. Forget for the moment that WE are probably the main reason why we don’t like the current situation and it’s due to our own poor choices. That’s for another day. :-)
We tell Him He can’t be right in how He’s working things out, though we are told in Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” He couldn’t possibly have meant for me to go through this pain, right?
What about Jacob? Did God mean for him to limp for the rest of his life? You BET He did! WHY? In our weakness God is made strong. When we rely on HIM for our strength He can do amazing things in our lives. Want proof? Think back on some trying times you’ve had. Did you draw closer to God or wrestle with Him? What was the outcome? For myself, I’ve wrestled. I’ve yelled and sobbed and wanted to throw things at Him. Did it really make any difference? Nope. He just looked at me and said, “Are you done now? Can we go from here the way I originally intended or do we have to fight more before you’ll realize I love you and have the best in mind for you?” And guess what? The best has ALWAYS, and I truly mean ALWAYS, been better than what I could have gotten on my own. For those who know me, you can see some of the blessings God has given me for my letting Him call the shots.
Now I will start to show a little of the personal without using names. What are you contending with God about today? Giving a child up to His will? Letting go of destructive behaviors which have drug you down for years? Allowing God to heal you in a marriage relationship? Allowing God to HEAL the marriage relationship despite what your flesh feels? Getting out of a destructive relationship? Remembering that we are called to forgive no matter what? Getting rid of a crutch you’ve used to cover up the deeper pains? Holding onto someone who might not be the one God intends for you? Just seeking to be closer to HIM and not some person?
DON’T LET GO! Jacob held onto the man and said he wouldn’t let go until he got the blessing. He clung. He wanted that blessing more than anything, this time legitimately. Cling to the One who gives the blessings. Hold onto Him and tell Him how much you want to see the good in your life. HIS way. Ask Him to be the One to guide your steps today and always. Grab His hand and take this walk in life. The path is rocky at times, but He will be there to help you THROUGH it. Sometimes around, but mostly THROUGH.
I once heard a quote something like this: A life’s story would be pretty boring without the challenges and conflicts as well as the conquests. I can honestly say I’m thankful for the wrestling matches I’ve had with Christ. They have always brought me into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him. And that’s priceless.