That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.
– Genesis 32:22-32
“You must learn to wrestle against the things that hinder your communication with God, and wrestle in prayer for other people; but to wrestle in prayer with God is unscriptural. If you ever do wrestle with God, you will be crippled for the rest of your life. If you grab hold of God and wrestle with Him, as Jacob did, simply because He is working in a way that doesn’t meet with your approval, you force Him to put you out of joint (see Genesis 32:24-25). Don’t become a cripple by wrestling with the ways of God, but be someone who wrestles before God with the things of this world because “we are more than conquerors through Him…” (Romans 8:37). Wrestling before God makes an impact in His kingdom. If you ask me to pray for you, and I am not complete in Christ, my prayer accomplishes nothing.”
– Oswald Chambers
Let’s see. Jacob wrestled God at night. Have you ever awakened in the morning and found the covers in a huge knot? How did that happen? Were you wrestling in your dreams? With whom were you wrestling?
I’m not sure whether we wrestle with the Devil or God at night. My wife and I can both struggle with our ‘demons’ when we are asleep. Sometimes, there are bruises as a result. My wife takes more of the medicines that can lead to unwanted bruises. She dresses so that most of the bruises don’t show. That saves her embarrassment and me having to make an explanation regarding, “Have you quit beating your wife?” (An old false logic question. It is a yes-no question, but either yes or no incriminates the person answering.)
But seriously, we all wrestle with God from time to time. We have our plans. We have our time schedule. Yet, God has His plans. Does He delay in answering our prayers, because it is not the last minute yet, or has He been answering our prayers all along? We sometimes ask, but don’t listen for the answer. We then do what we had planned and wonder why God did not bless the venture.
I mentioned that God does answer at the last minute at times. This could be to prove that it was God who answered, but it could be to teach patience to the person that plans everything to the last detail. To answer that question, find a control group of people with a loose-goosy attitude toward planning and preparation. They have a general concept, then, at the last minute, a miracle happens. Okay, it’s not a miracle, but they go from not having anything done to having it complete in a matter of days, hours, or minutes. Had God given them their answer three weeks ago, but His test to them is to see if they will procrastinate so long that they run out of time when the deadline is due?
That would be a really interesting survey. In a way, both groups of people, the uber-planners and the procrastinating miracle workers, are wrestling with God, each in their own way. While God is giving them the opportunity to trust in Him and Him alone, they are each testing God to see if He will come through on His part in the process.
Why did this come up? Okay, I had typed the quote from Oswald Chambers and copied the scripture some time ago. Then, I left this title sitting, until someone asked about my blog. I had to admit that I had always been the uber-planner. I had never been in charge of a project that didn’t make a profit and wasn’t completed on time with great customer satisfaction. Getting the triumvirate of Quality, On Time, and Under Budget is considered nearly impossible. Others would say about my work, “Give us the ordinary jobs, but if you need a miracle, give it to Rackley.” Others said it. I didn’t (until just now). My point is that with these blog posts, I may have tomorrow’s already scheduled to be posted in case my internet connection dies, but three days from now? I have the next day’s post as a draft, but I have no idea what I’ll write the following day. I have 100% confidence in the Holy Spirit to guide me.
Does that mean I am perfectly calm? No! Not at all. I’m the duck who is calm above the water, but my feet are paddling like mad beneath the surface. This concept of “Just-In-Time” (JIT) management is not new to me, but it is a daily part of my prayers. “Okay God, I’m drilling a drill well here, but I know you’ll make something boil to the surface.” I’ll then look over my notes, until a voice says, “Start typing something!” Then, as the words appear on the screen, something simply feels right. I might have to delete some of the original paragraph, but God has led me to His desired destination. At least, I pray that He has done so.
But I am learning to not fret about it. In a way, God is teaching me patience.
Part of our wrestling is over control of our lives. God wants us on His path, not the path of our own desires. But He is also teaching us to desire His path. To do so, He sometimes makes our excursions from the path a little bit unpleasant.
But when we stay on His path, we find the journey more pleasant, in time easier, and a lot less wrestling.