Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wrestling With God

Hey Friend,

Lately I have been wrestling with God.  Yes, you read that correctly - wrestling.  I've been asking God, "Why?"  Why did I go through a painful surgery and five months of rehab only to be at a place where I have very limited mobility?  Lord, you know the past few years have been more than difficult on many levels (ref: Church Lady? I Think Not), so why this?  Who am I...Job?

Well meaning well-wishers have reminded me it could always be worse.  Yes, no matter what we are going through, somehow it could always be worse.  I promise I will never invalidate what you are going through by giving you that cliché response.

I used to think that I always had to pray "pretty prayers" before God.  But, as my relationship has grown with God, I have come to know that my conversation with God can be riddled with why's and doubts and fears.  My prayers are often not even words; they are so painful.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. (Romans 8:26)

Wrestling connotes a close and engaging give and take.  You can't wrestle from afar.  Sometimes wrestling hurts and is painful.  Sometimes we struggle against God.  Often we are sad, angry, disappointed or all of the above.

In the Psalms, David wrestled with God.  He cried out to God on occasions too many to count asking, why?

"Why, oh Lord do you stand far off?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?"  (Psalm 10:1)

Yet God still called David a man after His own heart. 

Christ, in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, wrestled with His Father.  He cried out,

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  (Matthew 27:46)

Jacob wrestled one night with a stranger whom he recognized as God's representative, and asked him for a blessing.  The man then bestowed a new name upon him: Israel.  This name means "he strives (or wrestles) with God ." It is based upon a rare form of Hebrew for striving (yisar) and one of the words for God (El).

The common denominator - all of those who wrestled with God saw ultimate victory.  God did not shun or condemn those who wrestled with Him.  Our God is much bigger than that.  He can handle our anger, doubt and fear.  He wants to have a close and personal relationship with us even if it means we will wrestle with Him.

In order for there to be victory, there must be struggle.

Trust Love's heart.  He can bring triumph from our trial(s).

God grew His beloved nation Israel out of Jacob's struggle with Him.  God is more concerned about our character than our ease of living.  In His great love he allows us to be purified in the crucible of struggle, but he promises we will not be burned or consumed.  We will emerge victorious!

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  (Romans 8:37).

If you are wrestling right now...know that the victory is coming!