I never cared much for the sport of wrestling. My kids went for other sports in high school, like basketball, volleyball and baseball. The thought of two sweaty bodies in skimpy leotards rolling around on a mat in front of a crowd of people makes me a little weak. I confess — I’ve never attended a wrestling match, so I shouldn’t knock it, but it’s just not for me.
Or so I thought.
As it turns out, I do a lot of wrestling.
Reading through the Bible brought me to Genesis 32 — a wrestling match. In this corner: Jacob. In the opposite corner: the God of the Universe. Such a formidable opponent didn’t stop Jacob from stepping on the mat. In fact, it seemed Jacob had been training for this main event his whole life. Jacob and his twin brother, Esau, started wrestling in the womb; Jacob, the Deceiver managed to grapple the birthright away from Esau; Jacob, the Conniver contested Laban over sheep and wives.
But this time was different. After spending the whole night tangled in a no-decision, Jacob refused to cry “uncle”, even when his hip went out of joint. All for a blessing. Jacob received what he had been struggling for, and more. He came away from the contest with a new name and a limp. And no more need to wrestle.
What am I wrestling with right now? Letting go of children, growing older, desires for future dreams. The key for me is to stay on the mat. I welcome the struggle because it means I’m tangled up in His arms, I’m close enough to feel His breath, I can sense His strength. If I let go, I might avoid the limp, but I might miss the blessing.
I will not let You go until You bless me.” (Genesis 32:26)