Friday, October 15, 2010

The God Who Struggles With You

Genesis 32:22-30
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants 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 men 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."

Something I'm thankful for is that God allows me to struggle and wrestle with Him. Like how He let Jacob wrestle with Him - and gave him a new name: Israel - he who struggles with God.

I was thinking about all the emotional struggles that I've been having, especially with God. And I think I felt a sense of fear about having these emotional struggles, especially when being emotional is seen as a bad thing in church.

To just do the right thing is not enough. Your mind needs to be renewed first. "... be transformed by the renewing of your mind." And that is where the battleground of the mind is. Satan attacks the mind by... lies. They don't call him the father of lies for nothing.

A lot of people think that reason is separate from emotions.And perhaps that 'thinkers' are more spiritual than 'feelers'. No, not really. Left brain, right brain... given a choice, I'd rather keep both sides of my brain, thank you very much. Good reasoning can serve as the fuel for our emotions. Good reasoning/theology help lead to good attitudes, feelings, and ultimately behaviour. Bad reasoning/theology, bad fruit. (But it's really not as simplistic as I've written just now. Still...)

Hmm. Something I'm really thankful to God for, is that in the deepest struggles and the worst feelings that I have, that is where I see and feel God most strongly. I just wish that my ways were steadfast in following Him, so that I would not be ashamed when I consider His commands.


And as I sit here, still, in the night, somehow, Psalm 23 comes to mind. =) And I'm so relieved that God is there. He really is there with me. =) That no matter how late, how slow I am to grow, how long I struggle... He is there, waiting for me faithfully. He allows me, like Jacob, to wrestle with Him all night, though He could easily pin me down flat. But one thing is that if you wrestle with God, wrestle with Him and don't ever let go of Him. He may break you (just one touch is enough!), but even the breaking will be part of His blessing for you.

So, really, it's ok to struggle with God. Just don't let go of Him. Wrestle all the way, wrestle with all your doubts. Wrestle, wrestle and wrestle. But don't let go of God until He blesses you. Even if He has to blast you first. =)

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