“For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”Proverbs 3:12
Our mistakes, failures, and wrong-doings often have a lingering effect. In some cases, unfortunately, we come to be known by them. Jacob was a man who played a lot of angles in his life. He prospered through trickery. He made a lot of enemies.
Jacob swindled his brother Esau out of his birthright over a bowl of stew. Out of fear for his life, his mother sent him to live with his uncle Laban. He then manipulated his uncle, until finally Laban’s patience had run out. Jacob bolted. But as he fled from Laban, he would encounter Esau, whom he had also angered earlier through his deceit.
The pressure of having to flee from Laban only to encounter Esau broke something in Jacob. He became a desperate man. He came to the end of himself.
In Genesis 32:22-32 we find that Jacob spent the night wrestling with the angel on the banks of the Jabbok River. In more ways than one, he was fighting for his life.
Take note of what God did when He wrestled Jacob. Jacob began the night dreading Esau’s arrival. He was full of fear and desperation. But he ended the night of struggle with God’s blessing and a renewed faith. All of our struggling with God in faith leads to peace.
God even afflicted Jacob with a debilitating injury. This had the effect of making Jacob even more vulnerable to Esau, forcing Jacob’s faith to more fully rest on God and not himself. If necessary, God will cause us to limp to increase our faith.
Wrestling with God ultimately changed Jacob’s identity. Rather than being known as one who received his blessing by deception, he received God’s blessing by prevailing with God by faith.
When God makes us wrestle Him for some blessing(s), it is not because God is reluctant to bless us, even if that’s how it first feels. It is because He has more blessings for us in the wrestling than without it.
When God calls you to wrestle with Him in prayer, it is an invitation to receive His blessing. Stay with Him and don’t give up. Do not let Him go until He blesses you! He loves to bless that kind of tenacious faith, and you will emerge transformed.
Questions for Thought
- Where are you struggling and what do you really need from God right now?
- What blessing do you want from Him? How badly do you want it?
- How can God use your struggles to provide a legacy of faith in your life?
Child Connection Questions
God answers our prayers. As a family, write down two to three specific prayers in your child’s prayer journal and pray together as a family. When God answers those prayers, record the date the prayer was answered and thank God for His faithfulness.
Spend five minutes praying today. Thank God for who He is. Thank Him that He is a God who desires to bless you. Then share with Him what you need, trusting that He is a God who gives good gifts and desires to make you look more like Christ.
Minister of Member and Guest Connections
Motivated to help others plug into First Dallas, John connects visitors and new members to Sunday School, membership, and ministry. When he’s not spending time with his wife, Cheryl, their three daughters, or six grandchildren, John is likely officiating a local sports event or relaxing on a beach somewhere.