“All Kinds of Wrestling”

"All Kinds of Wrestling"

All Kinds of Wrestling

Genesis 32:22-32   

When we think about wrestling we may at first think about men in tights locked in a physical competition to see who is stronger.   However, there are many other kinds of wrestling as well.  There is a wrestling with our emotions, trying to control our anger, trying to decide how we really feel about someone, wondering if we can re-build a relationship or not.  There is also a mental wrestling, trying to figure out a difficult problem, looking for a solution, struggling to come up with an answer to a tough question.  There can be a spiritual wrestling as well, trying to forgive someone who has hurt us, wondering what something really means, trying to see if God is really out there or not.

In our story from the book of Genesis this Sunday we see Jacob going through almost all these kinds of wrestling.  He is about to cross over the Jabbok River.  On the other side is his brother Esau whom he is preparing to see the next day.  This is the brother whom he hasn’t seen for years.  The brother whom he cheated out of a blessing and a birthright and who subsequently wanted to kill him.  This is the brother whom he fled from and now he is getting ready to see him.  Jacob must have been wrestling with his mixed emotions of fear of his brother and longing to be reunited with his family.  He was probably wrestling mentally with how to approach Esau—what strategies to use to try and get back in his good favors.

Then, as he is sitting by the river, a mysterious figure comes and begins physically wrestling with him. The contest continues into the night and to the early morning.  Jacob senses that there is a divine power within his opponent, so he won’t let go until the mystery figure blesses him.  The physical struggle has turned into a spiritual one as Jacob yearns to know that God will be with him as he goes back into the unknown of his old home and wonders if he will be accepted by his brother.

Are you wrestling with anything emotionally or spiritually in your life?  Have you ever struggled to know if God was really with you at a difficult moment?  Like Jacob, have you ever longed for an assurance that as you ventured into an unknown situation you did so with God’s blessing?

-Pastor Erik Goehner