The Bible is filled with many great stories. One of my favorites is found in Genesis 32. One of the reasons I believe the Bible to be inspired is because it shows us what life is really like. Jacob’s family had some interesting dynamics. Jacob and Esau were twins, and at birth, Jacob comes into the world grabbling and hanging onto his brother’s heel. From the beginning, he was striving to be number one. Jacob’s name means ‘grabber’ a synonym for a deceiver. Jacob’s mother devises a plan to cheat Esau out of the blessing from his father. Esau is so distraught that his mother Rebekah advises Jacob to leave. Thus begins a journey of intrigue, deception, cheating, and betrayal.
Jacob decides he wants to go home. He is afraid of what his brother Esau is going to do to him. In typical Jacob fashion, he devises a plan. I will send cattle, gifts, and my family ahead so that perhaps Esau will relent and not kill me. There is a verse that says, “And Jacob was left alone.” Someday we will all find ourselves alone. All that we worked for and all that we sought to accumulate will not matter. Though in our culture, we fear silence and being alone, it is at this point that God often does some of His most significant work. The Bible says, “a man wrestled with Jacob until daybreak.” Bible teachers give us an insight by telling us it was the Lord who was wrestling with Jacob. Though the situation is quite unusual, it summarizes Jacob’s life, always struggling and fighting with someone. Jacob meets his match. He meets someone he cannot outmaneuver, manipulate, or overpower.
Somewhere during the wrestling match, Jacob changes. He goes from fighting and wrestling to just holding on. During the wrestling match, Jacob is overpowered, and his hip is hurt so that the rest of his life he will walk with a limp. Even in pain, Jacob will not let go of God. In a moment, he goes from fighting and striving to clinging and holding on to God. The cry from Jacob is, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Are you fighting? Are you angry? Angry at God, others, or even angry at yourself? The feelings are as old as the Bible. You have a choice. You can go on fighting and trying to work it all out on your own, or you can surrender. The choice is to keep fighting or surrender and cling to God for the rest of your life. Some perspective: How has striving and doing it your way worked out for you? The choice is simple, am I going to wrestle against God or cling to Him and trust Him with everything? Though the question is simple, it is not simplistic. Though simple, the implications are huge. Can I surrender everything to the God of the universe? Can I trust that He will love and lead me, and, in the process, I will receive a power and sense of purpose and His presence that I have never known? Only one way to find out: Stop wrestling Him and cling to Him. This is the big question of life. Who am I going to rely upon? God or myself! The choice is obvious, and it is one we must all make.
Quit striving and cling to God. Blessing always has and always will follow obedience.