Have you ever felt tired of a situation, frustrated, and overwhelmed? Have you ever said to God “what’s going on? What are you doing?” We wrestle with God more than we realize, or more than we would like to accept. Usually they are “small” disagreements that come and go, but sometimes there are some wrestling matches that change our lives.
In Genesis 32 we read about Jacob wrestling with God. It was a stressful night for Jacob; he was about to meet Esau, his brother, whom he had taken his birthright from in exchange for a lentil stew (Genesis 25) and whom he had taken his blessing from when he deceived his father, Isaac. (Genesis 27) Jacob had a lot to be worried about and didn’t know what to expect. He feared for his family, his belongings and his life. But Jacob’s reasons to wrestle with God were not limited to this encounter. Jacob’s life had seen plenty of deception from the moment he was born. His name means “he deceives”, so that night, alone, in the dark he was probably exhausted of the many things he had experienced during his lifetime.
Jacob knew God, but it seems that he was reaching out to God for his own purposes. Jacob saw God as a provider and helper, someone who could bless him in time of trouble and get him out of difficult situations. Does it sound familiar? How often do we go to God asking, believing, praying and hoping to get something from Him? We ask Him to fix messes we may have gotten ourselves into, and we pray for Him to change situations that we feel are unfair. That’s when we wrestle with God. That’s when we argue with Him and complain to Him and plead with Him. We limit our vision and choose to see things our way, not God’s way. We forget who we are talking to. We forget that God is sovereign, we base our faith and trust in people and in situations, instead of focusing on Him and His Word.
We wrestle with God thinking we are right and that our plan is better. We often fail to understand the vastness of God, the glory of God, the power of God, and we reduce Him to our thinking. Wrestling with God is a place where frustration meets glory and we just can’t comprehend it all. Our human pain, our desires, our thoughts and ideas meet the perfect plan of God, His complete power and the awe of who He is.
Wrestling with God will change you. Understanding your place in contrast to God’s place is overwhelming. Submitting to God will give you freedom to let go of what you are holding so tightly and will allow you to receive everything God wants to give you.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:28-29