During our seminary days we wrestled with our calling. Were we to settle into our lives in rural North Carolina, go deeper into Hispanic ministry or take up a challenge to travel to the other side of the world to pioneer work with an unreached people group? Long talks and pro/con worksheets played their parts, but wrestling with God in prayer for direction is what led us to gather up our young kiddos and journey to China.
Jacob continued his journey with all that belonged to him and he too knew what it meant to wrestle. As he approached his brother’s land it was inevitable that he would need to face Esau. Jacob had not seen Esau in over twenty years, ever since the time their father had blessed Jacob with Esau’s blessing and Esau had threatened to take Jacob’s life. This meet-up could be life threatening for Jacob and the family he loved. With this in mind, Jacob separated gifts of animals and people to go on ahead of him, then he placed his wives and children in the safest place he could find and he remained alone for the night.
He prayed to God reminding Him of the promises God had given and was thankful for God’s great provision. But instead of his prayers leading to sleep, he had an all-night wrestling match with God. When the sun began to rise Jacob heard, “Let Me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.” Jacob was given a new name “Israel” and then the One he was wrestling with blessed him there. Do we value wrestling with God long enough for a breakthrough to come with a blessing? I pray we do even if it means sleepless nights.