The Wrestling Match
More than 20 years had passed since Jacob had manipulated his father’s blessing away from his brother Esau.
Jacob is traveling with his family back home to Canaan, and in the morning he is to meet Esau. Either he will be killed by Esau or he will deal with his past as a conniving brother and make peace. After crossing the Jordan River, Jacob send gifts to his brother, hoping to appease him. Then he retreated and sought mercy from God.
In the middle of the night, Jacob is alone, beside the Jabbok River. And without warning, he is thrown to the ground by a man. Needless to say, “the fight was on!” Jacob and the man fought hard, wrestling violently until Jacob’s hip was ripped out of joint by the force of the man’s blow.
Then the man said to Jacob,”Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Then the man asked his name, and when Jacob answered, the man said, you shall no longer be called Jacob, but you have been given a new name, which is Israel”(Genesis 32:22-29).
This wrestling match was a significant turning point in Jacob’s life. He learned that he could no longer succeed in his own schemes and deceitfulness, but rather he had to depend on God to execute the better plan for his life.
In the end, Jacob not only walked away with a limp, but he also walked away with the blessing of a new name, a new direction of life and reconciliation with his brother.
This story holds a valuable lesson for us today; Running from our problems is not the best answer. However, God loves us unconditionally and He wants to deliver us from those strongholds that keep us from receiving His very best.
But if we choose to hold on and not surrender, He may have to bring us to the end of ourselves. And then we’ll have no place to run, but to Him!
Carolyn Crow is a contributing writer firstname.lastname@example.org