Wrestling with the past and the future? Wrestle with God.

(A Meditation on Genesis 32)

Like Jacob, we bring our past (the pain, the failures, and the guilt) into the present.

We bring our future (the fears, the anxieties, and the Esaus of our lives) into the present.

We bring the world and its pain into our present, and we wrestle with them all.                                                

But real victory only comes when we bring these things into the presence of God and we wrestle with him (like the Psalmist—e.g. Psalm 13).  As we wrestle with God—bringing our questions, our anger, our guilt, our fear—only then do these things move from our head to our heart, from thinking to feeling, from understanding to experiencing.  Only then do we begin to overcome, only then do blessings begin to emerge for us and for our world.  Only then can we, like Jacob, rise up and meet our Esau.

And God’s immediate gift for Jacob is a new name, Israel, ‘he who struggles with God’.  It’s not very different from the old one, Jacob.  He is still the one who ‘holds on’ (Genesis 25:26), but this time he’s holding on to God.  And not from behind anymore but face to face, bringing all of himself into God’s powerful, caring presence.



Filed under Meditation & Prayer

2 responses to “Wrestling with the past and the future? Wrestle with God.

  1. Michael Bishop

    Hi Ian

    Great to see that you are blogging! I saw the link on FB and immediately grabbed the lectionary to see when Genesis 32 was coming up … But it seems this is extra-curricular!

    On this passage I love what I heard someone say that when God asks Jacob for his name and he replies “Jacob”, it is the first time that he has been honest. Previously to Isaac, he said, “I am Esau”, to Rebecca he said, “I am a friend of your father”. But when he says, “I am Jacob, the deceiver”, healing can begin.

    Hope you and Jen are well.

    I’ll be back



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