Jacob’s wrestling with God in Genesis 32 has been of great encouragement to me recently. For some context, Jacob was in turmoil. He’d worked 14 years to marry the girl of his dreams, asked to establish his own life away from his father-in-law, and after being denied this uproots his life to return to the land of his fathers, at God’s command (Gen 31:3). After fearfully fleeing from Laban, and an encounter with his estranged and angry brother in Gen 32:1-22, we find him in Gen 32:22-24. He sends his household away and is left alone in the night, and Jacob was “..wrestling with a man..til the break of day”. He demanded the blessing before departing (v26). After all of this, “..there he blessed him.” (Gen 32:29.)
Now, I’m not one for hearing God’s voice regularly, but when He does speak to me, I’m captivated by what he’s said for many months to come. I can remember one instance very clearly. It was in a midweek prayer meeting and getting emotional with frustration at things happening at work, I was in the toilets having a good ol’ weep (we’ve all been there I hope!). It was at that point, when I’m calling out to God asking why He’s being so unfair and not answering my prayers; wrestling with Him about why He is providing for other ministries and seemingly letting my investments come to nothing, He said to me, in that moment, “Come back when you’re limping and we’ll talk.”
Sometimes, the night is long. Sometimes, the wrestling is so hard. There will be times, and maybe I’m in one now, that the dawn is so far off that I can’t even remember what the sun looks like. But that does not mean the morning isn’t coming. I will walk away limping from this. Life, as I’m finding, especially in ministry, is often crippling. Emotionally, spiritually, and often physically draining. But the blessing is coming. He is not letting us fight these things through in our minds without a purpose. Jacob walked away tired, worn out, injured, but blessed. Whether that is immediately or simply spending a glorious eternity in the presence of Jesus, we won’t escape a blessing.
Keep fighting sisters; these wrestles we’re having aren’t pointless. It’s ok to question God, just read the Psalms! But never lose sight of the end that’s coming. There is no shame in admitting we’ve been ranting in our prayers, questioning what’s happening in the world, feeling forgotten or that God’s motives in answering others prayers around us feel like He is spiting our efforts. The reality is that life and the world in which we live does, in fact, sometimes really suck. The vulnerability that God craves so much with us is seen more starkly through our hard times as well as the days we are happily thinking and praying “the right things”.
Keep wrestling; the blessing is on its way.