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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Epiphanies: Wrestling with God

The same night (Jacob) got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle. ~ Genesis: 32:22-32

This time Jacob's encounter with the divine was less majestic and more painful.

And the change in Jacob, was more noticeable.

I think we are often conditioned to believe we cannot be angry with God, or yell at God, or fight with God.

While our difficult encounters with God may not be as physical as Jacob's was, they can nevertheless leave us limping.

God was not angry at Jacob for this battle between them. God initiated it even. And when it was over, God blessed him. God renamed him even. Jacob had been changed already by God, and now he had a physical sign of that change.

God can take our anger. God can take our yelling. Encountering God isn't always easy and may not always be pleasant.

But the blessing is there. The love is there. The patience is there.

God is there, even in the midst of our battles.

You are here, God. Thank you! Amen

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