Wrestling with the angel.
In Genesis chapter 32, there is a story in which Jacob sends his family across the river so he can face a man whom he wrestles with all night. It is a profound story of how we humans struggle with the difficult elements of our lives. When challenges come, it feels like all we can do is simply fight to survive. The thing I love about this story is that Jacob knew this man or angel in some versions had a blessing for him. He would not let go of the fight until the angel gave Jacob his blessing.
So often we see events in our lives as traumatic and please hear me, life is just painful sometimes. Yet, when we follow the example of Jacob, we see that if we are willing to go to the other side and wrestle with life’s difficult moments, we will receive a blessing. But we have to be willing to persevere. Jacob wrestled all night. He would not let up until he got that blessing which tells me we stay with it no matter how long it takes. It takes what it takes.
One thing I noticed when I read this story is that Jacob went apart. He sent his family away and he faced the angel alone. This tells me that when I am faced with the really difficult times in life that cause me to wrestle with the deep questions, I must take time. It is not something that will happen over night or on the run. I must be willing to sit with the pain, and the unanswered questions. That doesn’t mean that I just wallow in it. I apply concrete spiritual tools. I meditate. I journal. I struggle as I talk with people I respect and who are there to support my journey. And I cry and rail against God.
Then, in the quiet moments of surrender, I hear the whispers of a blessing. It may come in the form of a greater understanding of a spiritual principle that has dogged me. It may come as a softening of the heart or a deeper awareness and appreciation of the moment. Regardless of how it comes, I trust that if I stay with the challenge, the blessing will come.
What are you wrestling with today? Instead of wishing it would go away and resolve itself, what if you stayed with it? What if you grappled with the deep questions, uncertainties and fears that it is bringing to you? I promise that if you do, you will receive the blessing. You will be blessed by its presence and will eventually see that the event was actually an angel in disguise coming to bless you and your life.