The story of Jacob is one I often forget. Jacob – a dirty trickster who would never really make your model hero in a story – was trying to appease his brother Esau, who was coming to kill Jacob. During the night, while Jacob was all alone in his camp, a man came into the camp and wrestled with Jacob. Jacob refused to let him go, until the man blessed him.
“What is your name?” the man asked. After Jacob replied, the stranger answered, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God.”
From the beginning of God working in the lives of his people, their very identity has been one of struggle and conflict. Often we believe and teach that God wants us to sit down, shut up, and just believe. I think there is a powerful message in the story of Jacob – that God not only invites us to wrestle with him, but often initiates the encounter.
We generally paint a picture of relationship with God as cheap, easy, and painless. The Bible defines the identity of God’s people as those who struggle with Him.
I believe, much like a quote from the Matrix, “You do not truly know someone until you fight them.” I believe God does not ask us to blindly accept, but to challenge, debate, and wrestle with Him. I believe he does not punish us for our questions and wrestling, but rather rewards us, knowing that in such encounters we, like Jacob, see him face to face.
next: I believe in a God who loves his creation