NIV Genesis 32:26-28 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
Have you ever wrestled with God? I have. No, not in the way Jacob did, but in my heart and mind in trying to understand some of the things I have faced in my life.
When Jacob wrestled with God he was afraid. He was trying to come home and did not know how his brother was going to act toward him. His brother had planned to kill him in the past. So why does God come and wrestle with Jacob when he is already afraid? God wanted Jacob to know he really had nothing to fear. God wanted Jacob to know that God was involved in Jacob’s life. God wanted Jacob to know that Jacob had an inner strength to rely on.
Fear is a foe all of us must face. It often wears disguises such as worry, anxiousness, uncertainty, pain, or even embarrassment. Often it comes when we are facing difficult times. It comes when we face our own physical, emotional, mental, and/or spiritual struggles. It comes when events of evil and chaos make us wonder why. In these times we may cry out to God, “What are you doing?” These are times of wrestling. There may not be easy answers. God knows our struggles. Jesus wrestled with the Father in the garden asking if there was any other way than the cross. In the end, Jesus trusted in the will he had come to fulfill and we are the ones most blest.
On our journey we will struggle. God has given us a gift for times like this.
NIV 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.