One of my favorite pass times as a child was wrestling. This might be unusual for the typical little girl, but for me it seemed normal. My childhood role models included: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, MacGyver and of course Hulk Hogan. I would often harass one of my older brothers until they’d wrestle me. On the family room floor we’d wrestle until one of us got hurt. It was always me. With a 3 and 5 year age gap between my brothers and I, size and experience were not on my side. After a couple of days the rug burn and bruises would dissipate and I’d go back for more. My mother would always warn me, “I don’t know why you wrestle with them; you always end up getting hurt.” It was true, but apparently I found the exhilaration of the challenge to be worth the fight. My childhood wrestling matches ended when puberty hit. It just got awkward.
Several years later, I didn’t mind that awkwardness when my boyfriend (now husband) would attempt to tickle me. His flirtatious underarm tickle was met with a WCW wrestling match. He had grown up with two sisters and was raised to never harm a female, so threats from his girlfriend of a knock-down-drag-out-fight took him by surprise. He stepped up to the challenge and quickly learned the rules of the fight: no hitting, kicking, biting, scratching or hair pulling …unless I’m loosing then all rules are thrown out of the arena. My mother-in-law can attest to our wrestling. Recently she recalled the day that our rough housing ended when we shattered the decorative glass lantern on her end table. Her son was then sent to the store to purchase a replacement. In the first few months of our marriage our playful wrestling served us well as the physical contact led to more physical contact. The wrestling ended when the pregnancy began (although perhaps it was the wrestling that caused the pregnancy).
It was my history of wrestling that intrigued me about the story of Jacob wrestling with God. In Genesis 32 Jacob got wind that his older brother Esau (the one he had tricked the birth right from) was coming with 400 men. He feared for the life and the night before the dreaded attack a strange man started wrestling him. They wrestled ALL night long! When the sun started coming up the man told him to let him go. Jacob refused and the man simply touched his hip and put it out of socket. The strange man said again to let him go, but broken hip and all Jacob refused, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” Genesis 32:26. Sometime during the fight Jacob realized that he was not wrestling an ordinary man but God himself. This was not a 2 to 5 year age gap; this was the Creator of the universe versus His creation. Jacob knew he was no match but in his punitive human strength he was going to give it all he had. God rewarded him for his fight and blessed him. In the morning Jacob was physically exhausted but his faith was stronger than ever. Ready or not he was about to meet his brother. Under the Lord’s blessing instead of being met with the anticipated sword Esau gave him a brotherly hug. God had left Jacob with his blessed limp, which served as a reminder that in his weakness God is stronger.
Do you ever feel like you are wrestling with God? I do! I want God to bless me. After all I’m supposed to do everything as if onto the Lord, so why wouldn’t He bless it? Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” I heed these words and pray boldly:
Heavenly Father, I know this is not Bible times and I’m certainly not Jewish, but I’ve been adopted into YOUR family and I’m requesting YOUR blessing. I’m not the firstborn son. I’m not even a son, but YOU love me just the same, so please bless me. I am limited in my gifts and abilities, but YOU are the one who gives them, so bless them. I am fighting for YOUR kingdom, so strengthen me. YOU are the definition of love, so make me more loving. YOU put me hear on earth, so use me for YOUR glory.
Certainly most of our wrestling matches are not with or even from God, but He can use every trial/match for His glory. He uses the hard times to grow us in our faith. We might come out with a broken hip, but the faith that we have gained from the match will be worth the fight. Keep going back for more. *Ding* Ding *Ding Breaks over. Get back in the game! Fight the good fight.