Text: Genesis 32:22-32, Isaiah 53:5, Hebrews 12:5-11
I reached for my phone. The screen came to life, illuminating the dark room. It was 2:17 AM, and my mind was racing. As I turned over I felt the Spirit’s prompting. So, instead of reaching for the bottle of melatonin, I reached for my Bible and journal.
I needed to wrestle. Earlier that day, I had been on a date that left me confused and restless. My heart wanted one thing and my head wanted another. Or maybe it was my sinful insecurities convincing me of my want while the Spirit of God in me reminded me of what I already knew to be true. Was I going to choose what I deeply desired, which was now right in front of me, or was I going to humble myself and wait for God’s best? Regardless, I needed to struggle with my Lord.
Jacob, too, was alone with God that night at the Jabbok River. He wrestled with a man, struggling until daybreak. As the sun rose, Jacob asked for a blessing before he would let the man go (Genesis 32:24-26). But he received more than a simple blessing. Jacob—whose name meant “he grasps the heel,” a Hebrew idiom for “he deceives”—was renamed. He was given the name Israel “because he struggled with God and with men and prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).
Centuries later, one of Jacob’s descendants had His own midnight encounter with the Father. The night before His crucifixion, Jesus struggled with God in the Garden of Gethsemane. He pleaded with the Father to spare Him from the suffering He was about to endure. Yet, even in His great anguish, He humbled Himself before the Father and uttered these remarkable words of surrender:
“…not my will, but Yours, be done.”
- Luke 22:42
Both Jesus and Jacob struggled with God, and both were wounded.
Both presented requests to the Father. Jacob demanded a blessing, and God granted his request. Jesus, in humility, asked the Father to remove His suffering, but yielded to God’s greater purpose.
Both struggles birthed a new identity. Jacob received a new identity in his new name. Jesus allowed the blessing of a new identity to fall to us.
Through Jesus’s sacrifice, we are granted redemption. He took the wounds we deserve, and we receive the blessing that was rightfully His. Christ overcame for us, and we are renamed “Redeemed.”
Our struggles become defining moments in our lives. In Christ, even the struggle becomes a blessing because it draws us closer to our Savior. Jesus is the true and better Jacob, wrestling with God and sustaining the blow that was due us, so that we might receive the blessing of grace.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.”
- Isaiah 53:5
Oh, dear sisters, I pray we would struggle, too. I pray we would find comfort as we wrestle with our Lord and hold on for the blessing that is ours in Christ Jesus. Let us wrestle with the One who has overcome the greatest struggle of all, and all for us.