But Jacob stayed behind by himself, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he couldn’t get the best of Jacob as they wrestled, he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint.
The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.” Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.” The man said, “What’s your name?” He answered, “Jacob.” The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.”
Jacob asked, “And what’s your name?” The man said, “Why do you want to know my name?” And then, right then and there, he blessed him. Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!” The sun came up as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. Genesis 32:24-29
And he set up an altar there and called it “God, the God of Israel” Genesis 33:20
Have you read this passage before? Do you identify with Jacob? Have you wrestled with God?
I have been in and out of wrestling with God for the past two years. It's painful. It's heart-wrenching. But it's also been name-changing, life-changing. It's worth it. The blessing is God's very Presence.
I have wrestled with God about my worth and my purpose. I have wrestled through my prayers, hours of journaling, conversations with other Christians, many tears, reading and digging into His Word, miles and miles of running and praying. I have sought out helpers in my wrestling-- a coach, a spiritual director, a mentor, a counselor. They have each been a gift in the wrestling.
My prayer in the sleepless nights and doubts of my wrestling is the same as Jacob's. "I'm not letting go until You bless me." I tell Jesus again and again that I am committed to seeking Him. I know He will be found. He is the blessing. He is the peace. He is completeness. He is the star-breather. He is Yahweh. He is. I think I am coming out of the wrestling. I have confidence in my new name. I am His. I am a child of God. I am not ruled any longer by fear and doubt and feelings of unworthiness. Don't get me wrong-- these feelings still show up! I know it will not be until I am truly Home that I will not struggle with doubt and feeling unworthy. But I have learned in the wrestling that they don't rule me. Jesus rules me. He is my Hope and my Anchor. I have decided to follow Him.
Just like Jacob turned Israel did, I am ready to build an altar. A physical reminder to all who see it that God is. I'm not sure yet exactly what this will look like. I'll let you know!
Are you struggling today? Do you find yourself in a wrestling match with God? I know it's hard. I know the pain and the fear. I know the frustration as you try to come to peace with God’s plan for your life. I understand the fear of letting go of every burden and turning them over to God.
I also know the change that takes place in your heart when you have taken the time to engage God, to get to know His Heart. I know how He changes and blesses when you seek Him with your all. I know the joy of Him.
Are you in a wrestling match today? Hang in there. He will change you forever.