The Benefits of Wrestling with God
“Those who trust God most are those whose faith permits them to risk wrestling with Him over the deepest questions of life. Good hearts are captured in a divine wrestling mat; fearful, doubting hearts stay clear of the mat.”
I sensed the Lord was preparing me for something as I struggled with apathy, a lack of motivation and clarity within the ministry. Out of my wrestling with God came the prayer, Keep peeling the layers of my healing and set me free to be the woman You have designed me to be. Use my contending to deepen my relationship with You. I am not one who likes to fight and persevere to attain something. I would rather it come easy. But the Lord encouraged me to “wrestle it out” just like Jacob did in Genesis 32:22-32.
Despite his fear, Jacob prepared to meet with his brother Esau. He sent groups of people, herds, and camels ahead of himself to offer the animals to Esau as a gift. In humility, Jacob prayed to God, mentioning his unworthiness of God’s kindness and faithfulness. He asked God to save him and to fulfill His promises to Jacob. And then he spent the night alone wrestling with a man till daybreak. The man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, but Jacob was tenacious and would not let go until the man blessed him. “Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob (supplanter), but Israel (a prince with God) because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome'” (Genesis 32:28).
God showed me that wrestling is good as it builds my muscle of perseverance. Grappling with my inner turmoil solidifies the truth about who God is. It helps me become more established, so I can stand firm. I not only get to know more fully who God is, but I come into a greater understanding of who I am. Wrestling is a good thing when we go to God for answers. God’s character and our identity become more solid because of battling for truth and understanding with God.
Just as Jacob received a new name and a new identity after he wrestled with God, so too we can obtain the same. Our wrangling with God not only releases an obvious change in our walk with God but also cements a deeper intimacy with Him. Now that is something worth contending.
“The whole purpose of wrestling with life is to be transformed into the self we are meant to become, to step out of the confines of our false securities and allow our creating God to go on creating. In us.”
Joan D. Chittister
Describe a time when you wrestled with God. What did you discover about God and yourself?