This week in our “Patriarchs” study, we went over Jacob wrestling with God. It was really good. Not unlike every other lesson Beth Moore does. 🙂 [If you got here from WOTH, did you know that Beth Moore is coming out with a study on Esther on November 15?! Very exciting.]
The video session went over the entire encounter of the wrestling match in Genesis 32. During most of it, Beth talked about fighting with God and knowing you’ve done something wrong and need to meet with God about it. While I have been in that place before, I’m not currently there now. More recently, though, I’ve been in the place where I just need to honestly speak with God and tell Him what’s really going on. I began that process during my time at Panera a few weeks ago (see my post on “Soundtrack to My Life”) and at first, I thought it was silly. You know, picturing God having coffee across from me and just venting and telling Him what’s really on my mind as I would a good friend. But… it worked.
Now, after doing this week’s session, I realize that doing that was actually a good thing! I’ve been terrified about leaving, terrified about traveling, terrified about whether or not I’m even qualified for this job… just all-around terrified. The one quote that got me this week was: “When we dread facing something or someone, what we need most is to honestly face God.” She went on to say that it’s as if God is saying, “Lift up your face and talk to me! Don’t hang your head in My presence!” I am a firm believer that God does speak to us. In our minds. In a voice. I know He does. I’ve heard Him speak to me and I know it was Him and not my imagination. When I had coffee with God the other day, I heard Him say, “Look at Me. Lift up your head and look at Me. Tell me what you have to say to My face.” Before Jacob could face up to his brother that he had wronged, before Jacob could move on with his life, before Jacob could be blessed by a new name and a new reputation, he had to face God. He had to wrestle with Him. Fight with Him. Let Him have it, if you will. And then when the Lord asked to be released, he said, “Not before you bless me!”
I picture Jacob gripping His collar, leaning close to His face, and saying that command with the last breath and ounce of energy he can muster. “Not … before … you … bless me!” And then, in the stillness of the night, God responds, “What is your name?” Jacob drops his grip and his head and whispers his reply: “Liar.” God puts a hand on Jacob’s shoulder and says, “Not anymore. You are Israel.” What’s in a name? Everything. When it’s given by God Almighty.
I loved how Beth brought us then to Revelation 2:17 where we learn that we will be given a new name in heaven and only God and the person who receives it will know it. Only God because only God was there. Only God was there in Panera. Only God will be there in our little 2-bedroom house in Picapiedra. Only God has been there every time I’ve cried out to Him in Vermont, Montreal, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania. Only God has listened every time to every word. Only God has caught my tears and kept them in a bottle. Only God has been there and will be there through every triumph, personal or otherwise. When He gives me that name, it will mean something – just between the two of us.
I remind people who come to me for advice and prayer that it’s okay to fight with God. It’s okay to question Him, even yell at Him. It’s okay to be brutally honest. He’s big; He can handle it. Jacob wrestled with God! Wrestling has never been, in my mind, a very beautiful sport. Jacob wrestled with God and let Him have it. God won’t let you win. But, He also won’t let you go without blessing you. I’ve always come away from a straight talk with God feeling much better off about whatever it was I had to talk with Him about.
Here are two more quotes from the lesson: “In every struggle, do not let go until the blessing comes… When we struggle through the crisis with God all the way to the blessing, we are glorious redefined!”
We’ll be having coffee a lot more often from now on.