Genesis 32:24-28 (NIV)
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
-Many times in the past my mind would wonder about the story of Jacob wrestling with the strong man throughout the night. Jacob refused to let him go until the man blessed him. We later find out that the unnamed strong man is God.
As I prayed, I asked for the same fervor and determination as Jacob to hold on through the struggle until I witnessed God’s blessing. God pointed out that what Jacob did was hold on to God. It didn’t matter that the night got dark and the fight got rough. Jacob held on (as I must hold on to my faith in God, in all things for surely I am & will be tested, but let that faith be unshakeable).
I had to think of who Jacob was, with his past of repeated lies and mess ups. Then he repented as he ran from the anger of his brother Esau and from that point on devoted himself to doing what was right and submitting to God’s guidance in his life. Jacob had to look past all of his former wrongs that would disqualify him from being worthy of a blessing and instead dug in his heels in determination. His actions in a way said, there’s nothing left in this world for me but You God. If I let go, I’d be lost. I am not letting go. Take me as I am, and make me what I ought to be.
And God did. He renamed Jacob (the name which meant deceiver) and called him Israel (meaning one who struggles with God). After the struggle, Jacob received the blessing. And so it goes in life. It may not be easy, for we all must go through difficulties in life. But it will be worth it because after we’ve endured in faith we receive the blessing.