Sometimes I think we don’t wrestle with God enough.
Rather than digging in deep and lingering long in His word and laying out our soul in prayer, we turn to worldly bandaids to solve our problems.
What if we got away from our family and friends and we closed our devotional books and shut down our phones and we got alone and simply wrestled it out with God.
No quick easy fixes – just you and God – for hours.
We google and click and scroll and click and meet in coffee houses in search of answers. We buy book after book and watch movie after movie to escape our troubles. We plan far off travels, to get away from it all, but our baggage inside our souls, goes with us.
Don’t get me wrong – God gave us many good things to enjoy, but if we are not careful, these things will become poor substitutes for intimacy with God.
Jacob wrestled with God.
Jacob was scared to return to his hometown where Esau was angry with him and so as he laid wide awake in fear, he began to wrestle with God.
Once Jacob got a hold of God, he refused to let go.
And God blessed him.
And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Jacob wanted comfort from God and it came in the form of a wrestling match.
God didn’t give Jacob answers – he gave him more of Himself. God touched Jacob’s hip and caused him to limp, which meant he would have to increase his faith and remain dependent on God. And when Jacob was done wrestling, he had a new name and a new identity.
Jacob was changed because he wrestled with God.
And that same God invites us into deeper intimacy with Him and if that means we have to wrestle with Him, so be it. Because God knows that after we have wrestled a bit, we will find comfort, our faith will be increased and we will be changed because of our intimate encounter with our Heavenly Father.
Psalm 77 – A Psalm of Asaph
This brings us to Psalm 77. The Psalmist Asaph was wrestling with God in prayer and he did 3 things.
1.) He wrestled with all of His might.
All of the words that describe Asaph’s prayer show intentionality and effort. He cried. He sought the Lord. He stretched out his hand to the Lord. He remembered God. He meditated and he made a diligent search to understand God.
I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
3 When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah
4 You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
7 “Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah
2.) He Remembered.
As Asaph wrestled with God, he began to remember the wonderful works of the Lord. He worked hard to remember. He pondered and meditated over and over all the ways he could remember God working in his own life and the lives of of his people.
Asaph’s remembering was a fight of faith.
Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
3.) He worshiped. (13-20)
Once Asaph wrestled and remembered, his heart began to be encouraged and he turned toward worship. When we are wrestling with God, we must take the facts we know about God and let them make their way into our hearts. Only then can we clearly see God as He really is.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
15 You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
16 When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
indeed, the deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
the skies gave forth thunder;
your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lighted up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
God changed Asaph and God wants to change you.
God initiated the wrestling match with Jacob.
Have you considered that perhaps God has initiated some of your wrestling matches? Or maybe he is inviting you into one right now?
When God invited Jacob into a wresting match, Jacob was filled with anxiety and completely caught up in his mess. Once Jacob began wrestling, there was no more room for his anxiety.
His focus was one hundred percent on God.
I have learned from my own wrestling matches, that God does not show up the way I necessarily want him to. Like a toddler stomping her feet, I want God to give me what I ask for, when I ask for it.
Instead, God knows my deeper needs. He knows I need to completely focus on Him. He knows I need comfort. He knows I need increased faith. He knows I need to depend on Him alone. He knows I need changed and that I need more of Him.
So if God is inviting you into a wrestling match…
accept the invite.
don’t give up.
You will be changed!
God is giving you a blessing.