“Wrestle with God” . . . that is what the name “Israel” means. Recall the patriarch, Jacob, standing at the edge of the Jabbok River when he wrestles with a man who the Bible vaguely identifies. This “man” appears human at first, but later seems divine. The two of them wrestle all night. Today, high schoolers wrestle three 2-minute periods and are exhausted when they finish. Can you imagine how tired Jacob was when the dawn broke? In the end, the “man” touches Jacob’s hip, wrenching it out of socket. In spite of the pain and fatigue, Jacob refuses to let go until he is given a blessing. It is then that Jacob’s name is changed to Israel, the wrestler. Isn’t it interesting that the name of God’s chosen people invites us to wrestle with Him?
In life, we are all confronted with confounding circumstances. In the Bible, we encounter some confusing passages. It is OK to wrestle with God when this happens. In fact, those who don’t wrestle with their belief system, whether Christian or secular, are often the scariest people in the world. But the key to the wrestling is to never ever let go. If you can hang on, there is a blessing at the finish line.
Associate Pastor Emeritus, Greg Zehner