This morning I was out enjoying the sunshine and humidity (ha!) and the the thoughts coming to mind. For the last week, or dare I say month, I’ve been in a questioning and doubt stricken place. (Which is ironic based on where I’m at working through the Joshua study and melting hearts. I’ve been living, ever to close for comfort sometimes, through this Joshua study.) Anyways, the question posed in my mind this morning while in the berries was this….
Am I wandering in a wilderness or wrestling?
When the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, it was because of their lack of obedience to God, their questioning and doubt-filled melting hearts, and because they did not listen or incline themselves to the Creator. Even in their wandering though, He continually provided and showed himself in a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to show the way. At times they lacked water, and at times I’m sure they were uncertain as to where to go or what to do.
I tried to remember what the circumstances were surrounding Jacob when he wrestled with God, and what came out of the wrestling. So this afternoon, I re-read about the wrestling match in Exodus 32. Jacob is preparing to see his brother Esau for the first time in years since fleeing for his life after receiving the blessing of his father, rather than Esau receiving it. Tension was in the air and I’m sure that Jacob did not know how he and his family would be received by Esau. And it was there, in the midst of uncertainty that Jacob wrestled.
Jacob’s wrestling match with our Creator is epic and life changing. Jacob sends his family across the stream in the place they are staying, and he is left alone until morning. In this wrestling match Jacob’s hip sockets is touched and put out of joint but he continues to hold on, refusing to let go of his partner. “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Jacob says. And it is here that the Lord changes Jacob’s name to Israel and blesses him.
My belief says it’s okay to wrestle with our Creator; wrestle out our questions, thoughts, emotions, fears, and circumstances. It can be a place of closeness and intimacy, even if it gets uncomfortable and exhausting at times. It’s a place to grow in trust of God’s goodness, love and plan for us. Jacob was a changed man after the wrestling match, not only because of his physical limp but because he came to know his new name in the Lord, Israel.
At this point in the human experience of life, I’m not walking through a wilderness (I’ve been there before), I’m wrestling. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a choice, to soften my heart and wrestle out my questions and doubts with God or allow them to melt my heart in fear, anxiety, and give up. In the wrestling, I can ask our Creator for blessing and to see myself how He sees me.
Asking this question has actually brought some peace to my mind and direction. Perhaps if we’re going through a hard place, knowing if we’re wrestling or wandering can provide some comfort, support and direction. Press in to the Lord through it all, knowing He can use all of our wandering and wrestling for good.