There are some Bible stories that really resonate with me. One such is the story of Jacob and his wrestling with God. Jacob was traveling with his family and sends them along ahead. He is left alone when a stranger comes upon him and wrestles with him. They wrestle all night. The stranger even puts Jacob's hip joint out of place yet still Jacob won't release the stranger until the stranger blesses him. Eventually the stranger does and Jacob realizes that he has wrestled with God (and lived). [Genesis 32: 22-32]
For most of my life I feel I have been wrestling with God. My cries at times are refrains of "Why? Why me? Why her? Why him? Why won't you bless me, him, her? " Other times I have held on to God like a leach and asked (and if I am honest more of a demand) for blessing upon blessing. Still other times I have chomped at the bit, "Let me in coach. I can do it. I am ready."
Sometimes I think I ask too much of blessings rather than seeing the blessings already given and around me. My latest request for blessing was my struggle with finding balance in this new writing endeavor. My June 13th post I wrote about my attendance to a writing workshop. It was really good and just what I needed at the time.
I do find that God has a sense of humor. He knows all about my wrestling matches (after all, He is in it). Before I attended the workshop I had given God an ultimatum. I know, kind of stupid and naive- what was I thinking? I just laid it on the line with God- either have some encouragement for me during this week or take away the heart's desire to write. I ended up experiencing encouragement and a deep feeling that this is where God wants me to be. At one point I was sitting in a chapel service and the realization that what had been spoken were words just for me was so humbling and grace filled. I almost couldn't contain my feelings of God's goodness. Since then, I have been feeling in a good place and able to embrace and take on this idea.
As I have disclosed before, I am not much of a runner unless I am chasing a tennis ball. While I was at the workshop I thought it might be nice to walk/run in the mornings before the sitting sessions began. Notice the emphasis on walk. My running is a lot to be desired. I get bored quickly. I feel like I am living out the reoccurring dream of trying to run but feeling my feet are stuck in mud.
One morning as I was leaving the guest house for my morning walk/run another guest was leaving at the same time. He asked if I was running and I kind of hemmed and hawed because I am not a runner. But we ended up running together. He was/is a true runner.
Since I am the type that once I have started something I have to complete it, I couldn't give up once we started. I kept running alongside my partner. Turns out we did about three+ miles of continuous running. I have never run continuously that long. Ever.
The last morning we met and ran about four miles. It was easier than I thought and was fun to have someone alongside with whom to chat, comment and discuss life. That day we just had a morning session and the conference was over at lunch. I then proceeded to drive home.
When I got out of the car, I could hardly walk. My difficulty walking continued over the next two days. I thought, "Ok God. You had your fun. I have been wrestling with you like Jacob but really? Did you have to cripple me in the process?"
I can safely report that my stiffness has worked out and I can walk normally now. I also have been running on my own now that I am home.
I share this because I wonder how many of you are wrestling with God? Wondering why such and such happened? Why won't He bless me? Heal me? Heal others? Why is there hurt, suffering and problems that good people experience? Have you seen blessings already given or around you? Even if He has blessed us, we start wondering if it is true. We ask, "Did I hear correctly"?
From my experience, wrestling is a good thing. It is relationship building- getting real and honest with God. The thing is, He can take it. He wants us to share all our doubts, questions, disappointments, failures, successes with Him.
And along the way, He might even provide you with a little joke.