“So Jacob was left alone. Then a man wrestled with him until dawn. When the man saw that he could not win against Jacob, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that it was dislocated as they wrestled. Then the man said, ‘Let me go; it’s almost dawn.’ But Jacob answered, ‘I won’t let you go until you bless me’” (Genesis 32:24-26 GW).
Jacob was having a restless night before a high stakes meeting with his brother, Esau. Years earlier, Jacob defrauded Esau out of the family birthright, and they hadn’t seen each other since. They were finally going to meet up. Two estranged brothers would engage in a stare down at dawn. Jacob didn’t know if the meeting would result in a warm embrace or violent conflict. Should he even go through with it? God came between them and wrestled with Jacob.
God kept trying to escape Jacob’s hold on him. Why would God push anyone away at the turning point of a crisis? To show us we have the courage to see it through. In every crisis, we struggle with ourselves, other people, and God himself. Holding on to the Almighty for all we are worth is the only way to get through it. God pushes back so that we grab on to him more tightly. God pushes back so that we strengthen our grip. God inflicts a little short-term pain on us so that we rejoice in the blessed relief of an answer to our prayers.
Sometimes you have to wrestle with God to get a blessing.