Genesis 32:24 – And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.
In Genesis 32, a man by the name of Jacob is on his way to see his brother, Esau, who he’s been at odds with for many years. One night, the now-elderly Jacob is by himself likely sleeping or about to fall asleep, and a man appears to him (likely Jesus) and the two wrestle all night. Jacob refuses to give up until he is blessed.
Jacob had wrestled his entire life – with his brother in the womb, with his father-in-law Laban metaphorically, and now with God.
As the sun rises, the men stop wrestling and this man (likely Jesus) changes Jacob’s name, which means “trickster”, to Israel, meaning “wrestles with God and perseveres”. He has now matured from a man who excelled in trickery to a man of faith who trusted God to bless and protect him according to the covenant promises.
The man (likely Jesus) touches the hip of Jacob, who is now called Israel, to remind him and everyone who saw him that God had been patient with him for many years and could have justly harmed or killed him at any point.
The same is true for us. Sometimes the wrestling you do in the dark is to prepare you for the next season. The wrestling season will be the hardest thing you’ve ever been through, but God will use it for the greatest glory to Himself and the greatest good for your soul.
As a pastor, a dad, and a grandfather, I’m sorry for what you’ve been through or are going through. I would encourage you not to waste it but invest it. Don’t run away from it, wrestle through it. Find God’s will and know that no matter how dark it is or how much it hurts, you’re not alone. Ultimately, you’re wrestling with God who isn’t punishing you but preparing you for the next season of leadership and blessing.
In closing, there was a study conducted on world class athletes to see if there were any common experience that had that contributed to their greatness. It was found that all of the world class athletes studied had very difficult and even traumatic seasons in their life. They pushed through their trauma to grow in toughness, resilience, and increase their pain tolerance. What could have broken them became their breakthrough. In fact, the researchers determined that your training is in your trauma. We see this in Jesus, who endured the wrath of God, which was the greatest pain and trauma of all time, and now rules and reigns over all.
What hard seasons have you gone through that you’ve seen God use for your good and His glory?
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