"I will not let You go unless You bless me!"
- Genesis 32:26 NKJV
Perhaps you’ve read the famous account in Genesis 32 of Jacob wrestling with God. Jacob was in a tight spot. Years after cheating his older brother out of the family blessing, Jacob was going to be face-to-face with him again. He feared for his life, and for the lives of his loved ones, and he turned to the Lord for protection and help. Before the famous wrestling match is over, Jacob boldly declares to the Lord, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” (Genesis 32:26 NKJV) God not only causes His servant’s meeting with his brother to go well for him, but He changes his name from Jacob--which means “deceiver”--to Israel, which translates as “he struggles with God.”
I have read this intriguing account many times, but this time, the Lord opened it up to me in a fresh new way. I began thinking about how God blessed and favored Jacob throughout his lifetime, even though he had many weaknesses and faults. And I realized that because of my faith in Christ, the same God who extended grace to Jacob, also extends it to me. I know that I don’t do everything right, and I know that I never will. But I choose to put my faith in God’s goodness and mercy, and the fact that He is just looking for an excuse to bless me. And my faith is the avenue for Him to do that. I suddenly thought about three different ways that I could express my faith through “wrestling.”
First, I refuse to stop praying. Even when we are praying the exact will of God, we can meet with some resistance in the spiritual realm because of the devil and his activities. That’s why our persistence in prayer is so vital. Jesus said: "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8 NLT) This speaks of desperate prayer, the kind of prayer that doesn’t give up until it gets an answer. The apostle Paul specifically mentions “wrestling in prayer” in Colossians 4:12 (NIV). You and I can see God move mountains when we commit ourselves to doing this kind of praying.
Second, I’m not going to stop hoping in God’s earnest desire to bless me. Scripture says: “[The Lord’s] joy is in those who reverence Him, those who expect Him to be loving and kind." (Psalm 147:11 TLB) This kind of hope springs from the belief that our God is a good God, and that He’s constantly looking for ways to bless us. It’s a belief that should not come and go with the ups and downs of life, but should always remain rock steady. In one of David’s darkest hours, he wrote--"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." (Psalm 27:13 NIV) No matter what he was going through, David never lost hope in God’s goodness, and neither should we.
Third, I will not stop expecting to see God’s glory. Jesus said: "Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40 AMP) Every time we’re in a tense situation, we should ask ourselves, “What am I expecting in all this?” How we answer that question could have a heavy bearing on our outcome. We must assume that God wants to reveal His glory in our lives and circumstances, and that He is willing to intervene on our behalf as we expect His intervention. Are you wrestling in faith for the blessing that you need today?
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I’ve missed out on Your blessings because of my lack of faith. Guard me from the spiritual laziness and apathy that have the potential to rob me of the good plans You have for my life. Thank You that as I demonstrate my faith with persistence and determination, I will be richly rewarded, and You will be glorified!
- J. M. Farro