We can learn so much from the Old Testament stories we were taught in Sunday school – lessons that can be applied to the inner battles we struggle with every day. I always had trouble comprehending the one about Jacob wrestling with God. It seemed hard to understand why anyone would want to fight with God when you know that He’s always going to win.
My great grandmother had a thing about watching wrestling on Saturday nights. It was shortly after she received the first television set in her small town as a gift. This was the most emotion I’d ever seen coming out of that old woman. She really got into it as the farce unfolded, and actually believed that the fellows participating were tearing each other apart. Kind of funny for a 90 some year old woman.
The ancient Greeks had wrestling as part of their Olympic games. They wrestled mainly as a game of skill, not to cause physical harm. The winner of the match is the one who caused the other to submit or give in. Maybe this is what the story of Jacob wrestling with God is all about.
We go about our daily lives, trying to plan our futures and control all that life throws at us. It isn’t an easy road all the time. Still we try to stand on our own two feet and stay on top. When things get tough we turn back to the One who controls all of it.
God invited Jacob to wrestle with Him when He appeared to Jacob as a man. The struggle continued all night, but in the end, God was the victor. The wrestling was an opportunity for Jacob to submit to God’s will for his life, so he was a winner too. By sustaining the injury to his hip, Jacob was also reminded that his earthly struggles would be painful at times.
The fight can go on for a long time and we may never understand why we have to go through it. When life seems hopeless by our standards, it’s good to know that by submitting (allowing Him to do what is best for us) to God’s will, we will gain the victory.