Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Fighting sports – boxing, ultimate fighting, wrestling – aren’t on my list of “things to do or watch.” I’m not sure why, but I think it might be the constant contact involved. For example, wrestling is about grabbing hold of your opponent. Then, while maintaining contact, maneuvering them into a position of submission while you try to avoid being maneuvered into the same. However, wrestling can be a good metaphor for our life with God.
One of the bible’s great stories is about a wrestling match that takes place during the night. Jacob was pretty good at manipulating things to get his way - see Genesis 25:19-26, Genesis 25:28-34,Genesis 27:1-40 for some examples.
As Jacob was set to face his brother Esau, his trickery met its match. God decided it was time to let Jacob know he needed to trust more in God than his own wits and abilities. God appeared to Jacob, as a man, for a wrestling match. The night-long match was pretty much a stalemate until God, using some sleight-of-hand, touched Jacob’s hip and put it out of joint. But Jacob, recognizing his opponent as God, continued gripping God saying, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.” By his constant contact with God, struggling with Him in faith, Jacob overcomes God’s wrath and receives His blessing.
Through this example, God shows us the importance of wrestling with Him in faith. We wrestle with Him in a number of ways. First, we have steady contact with Him through regular worship - experiencing His grace in His forgiveness of sin and the Lord’s Supper. We continue to maintain contact with God wrestling with His Word in daily devotion and study - learning His will for us, even if we don’t understand it. The wrestling continues in prayer - asking Him to give us understanding of and the strength to do His will. As we struggle, wrestle, and contend with God, He strengthens us to do more than we can ever imagine on our own (Ephesians 3:20).
Your Brother in Christ,