In high school, two of my buddies, Vince and Eric wrestled for our school team. The first time I watched them compete I was grossed out (the lycra, the sweat, the sounds, oh my!) and awed at the same time.
These days, my favorite wrestler is my tough nephew Ryan, he leaves it all on the mat.
This sport oozes strength, courage, and intensity.
Guess what? I wrestle too. Oh, not the team-lycra kind, my matches are spiritual. And you? I bet you are a wrestler too.
The champion God-wrestlers I know cleave to a deep, daring faith. These are the ones who have grappled with God after the loss of a child, or who overcame addiction or abuse. They experienced betrayal, trauma and much more. Some held their fist to God and cursed Him. Others scorned or blamed Him. Yet eventually, they all wrestled, and He blessed them for it.
I shared dinner with one of these champions the other night. We always exit our time together with red eyes and mascara on our cheeks. She and her kids’ story is a made-for-TV-movie kind of saga. We spoke of going to the mat with God. I said, “The anguish over my boys is where my deepest wrestling happens. Seeing them get their hearts smashed leaves me broken and questioning.” She agreed, she and her children are shattered by their nightmare. We cried in our soup.
There is a strange passage of scripture found in Genesis 32:22-32, where a man named Jacob wrestled with God (some say an angel of God). You may know the story, even so, I urge you to read it.
Jacob was a cunning and impetuous dude. His life, a never-ending struggle in one way or another. We find Jacob in a place called Penial, exhausted and at the end of himself, drowning in pain and fear.
This entire section of scripture draws me in. But it is the last part of verse 29 that grips me.