“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh (his hip socket); and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh (his hip socket) was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”Genesis 32:24-26
I was sitting in a church service recently and a special speaker preached from this passage. I will not go into full detail on all that he spoke about, but these verses hit me and God worked in my life through them. As kids, my friends and I used to love to wrestle with one another, and we would do it every time we could. If we had a sleepover, we were busy flipping each other and trying to pin each other on the carpet. I used to love watch wrestling as well, and I refused to believe it was fake. I tried to emulate the moves I saw, and I even got to attend a match that was being recorded for television. The live matches were dynamic, and I did not want to leave the stadium as the air was electric. It was a night I would never forget. For weeks I tried to relive those matches as I used the couch pillows as the turnbuckles, but I soon grew up and no longer really enjoyed wrestling. I laugh now at the notion that I loved it so much, but even though I may have quit watching it, I never quit wrestling.
At my age, I am not sure I could get up off of the floor if I engaged another in a wrestling match, but I am not talking about physically engaging with another, but in the spiritual sense. I have wrestled with God many times over sin in my life that I did not want to give up. The sins which so easily entangled me, and the sins which seemed to plague me my whole life. Sins I have been convicted about time and time again, and sins I have confessed many times over including multiple times in an hour. There have been some sins that I did not confess at all, even though God brought them to mind and convicted me about them. I thought “one more will not hurt me”, and then followed that with its companion lie of “it’s too late now” Satan uses these lies to keep us enslaved to the “pet” sins in our lives as he desires to keep us in bondage even though we are free to go.
I remember when my wife and I took some kids to camp. We were church counsellors for teen camp and it was a challenging and exhausting week. We faced problems I never dreamed of, and I saw God work like I had never seen Him work before. We had drama like the Young and Restless, and we even had to take a camper home in the middle of the night. This event only led to the exhaustion, but it seemed to change the whole dynamic and atmosphere of the youth group. We saw a breakthrough in the teens, and there were many tears shed that night as they got things right with God and made commitments and desired true godly change in their lives. I was on a spiritual Cloud 9 as we took the kids home, and I could not wait to share with the pastor all that God had done. There was a special service scheduled for that Sunday in which the teens would share what God had done in their life.
The Sunday night service was amazing, but what was more amazing is what God had done in my own life. There were things I had been wrestling with God about, and He convicted me and spoke to my heart. The things I have been fighting about were now surrendered, and I had not felt so free in a long time. I no longer wanted my own way, but I wanted what He wanted for me in my life. I no longer was seeking my own will, but I wanted to do the will of my Father. I felt like I never wanted to sin again, and I did not want to lose this amazing peace I felt inside. I had real joy in my life, and I was no longer wrestling with Him as I tried to hold onto my sin. Many kids experienced the joy that comes when you quit wrestling with God and when you surrender 100% to His will. I was no longer trying to serve two masters, and I allowed myself to be pinned to the mat of surrender.
What are you wrestling with God about in your life? What are you holding onto that you need to surrender to Him? You will not prevail against Him, and you will experience no joy or peace until you surrender your life to Him. There is no peace or true joy without full surrender to Him, and there is nothing like the peace and joy you experience when you are right with Him. Jacob’s life changed after this encounter, and your life will change as well when you submit to Him. May today be the day you give up your own will and surrender to His. May it not take having our life being put out of joint, but may we agree with Him and live a life of surrender.