Prayer for the day
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Scripture for the day
Jacob’s episode of wrestling with the man/God/messenger has to be one of the strangest in the Bible. A few things stand out:
1. Jacob wrestles with God.
2. Jacob is winning?
3. God/the man has to cheat and dislocate his hip.
4. Jacob wrestles with God.
As strange as this story is, it’s not the strangeness that’s intriguing. It’s that Jacob recognizes that something is at stake in his wrestling. He clings to the person he’s been wrestling and won’t let go until he receives a blessing.
In Matthew’s account of the multiple healings, we see a few people who likely have done a different kind of wrestling with God.
We see a religious leader with a dead child. I would imagine he’s been having some pretty serious wrestling matches with God fairly recently.
We see a woman who had some kind of blood disease or disorder for twelve years. I would imagine she’s been wrestling with God over her condition as well.
We see two blind men. We see a mute, demon-possessed man. And we see a crowd of people that the Bible says were harassed and hopeless.
Each one in his/her own way had been wrestling with God. They had likely argued with God about their situation, plead with God for intervention, wept and gnashed their teeth in anguish. And each one, it would seem, clung onto their God like Jacob did, begging for a blessing.
ANd then the most amazing thing happens. God blesses them. And when Jesus heals them, note the language he regularly uses: Your faith has made you well.
What Jesus is saying is not that they have some magic talisman called faith that has healed them, but that, like Jacob, they have done well in clinging to the God they were wrestling.
And so we are presented with something of a paradox: we must cling to God even as we wrestle with God. In the midst of our struggles, our pain, our disappointment, in the midst of our wrestling with why God would allow this or forbid that, why God would do this or not do that, our responsibility is not to not wrestle, but to cling to Him as we do.