What does it mean to "wrestle with your conscience?" To "wrestle with the truth?"
What does it mean, then, to wrestle with God?
In Genesis 32 we find Jacob between a rock and a hard place. Behind him is his Uncle Laban, who for 20 years taught Jacob, the deceiver, what it was like to be on the receiving end of deception. In front of him was his brother Esau who, last he knew, had been hunting for him with blood in his eye.
But now he's in a panic. Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men. Fighting men. Not good.
When Jacob left he was a single man. A self-centered, self-involved, footloose, no obligations single man.
In Laban's household he learned to work hard and not sit around the tents all day. He learned to watch out for someone (family) or something (flocks) other than himself. He learned what it was like to be the underdog.
He learned humility… he suffered through in-house rivalries… he learned to trust God in adversity.
He became responsible for the welfare of 2 wives, 2 concubines, 11 sons, 1 daughter, and flocks and the men to take care of them.
He left home a boy (mentally, if not chronologically). He came back a man.
But when it came to facing his childhood rivalry with his brother, when it came to dealing with old family demons, when it came to facing up to what he had done to his brother…
Esau is coming with 400 fighting men.
Jacob is standing there with a handful of women, children and herders. And they are all looking to him for protection. Desperation.
What does he do? He prays.
Christians who mature in Christ almost all reach a point of desperation, a day in their lives when they realize they've got nothing and no one to lift them up but God. But sometimes they have to wrestle with God first
The only way to overcome in your struggle with God is to submit. And so Jacob matured. He gained understanding. He redefined himself according to God's will. He became an overcomer.
The only way to overcome in your struggle with God is to submit. To succeed… you must give up. To hold on you must… let it all go.
"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." (Mark 8:35)