All of us have moments when we wrestle with God over a certain matter. It could be that we question his delay in providing for a certain need or answering a particular prayer for a loved one. Sometimes we wrestle with him over our fears and insecurities, perhaps questioning why he made us the way he did or allowed a particular someone to enter our lives when the relationship ended painfully. If we wrestle in prayer long enough, eventually we see his answer to our prayer even if the answer is not what we expect it to be.
Often I wrestle with God over my writing and ministry. Those times of struggle can be triggered by anything -- slow book sales, infrequent visits to my blog, or rejections received by a magazine or other publisher. Just when I am ready to throw in the towel and put my dreams of ministry on the back burner he offers a glimmer of hope in an unexpected book sale or favorable comment from someone who was blessed by something I wrote. I am reminded (often) that even though I am not as wildly successful as others with higher profile ministries, I am faithful to encourage others with the truths of his Word and obedient in applying those truths to my own life.
Wrestling with God is painful and exhausting, as Jacob found out after a long night of wrestling with God. In Genesis 32:22-30, we read the story of how Jacob wrestled with a man until daybreak refusing to let go, despite the pain of a wrenched hip, until the man blessed him. The man, whom we know to be God from the scriptural account, blessed Jacob and gave him a new name, Israel, because he had struggled with humans and with God and had overcome (v. 28).
Perseverance is a hallmark of our faith in God. We are commanded to "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:4, NIV). But our enemy, Satan, knows that it is easier for us to throw in the towel and concede defeat than to persevere in our pursuit of God's favor and answer to our prayers. How many blessings have we missed because we gave up on God too quickly?
I have been wrestling with God for months over a heartbreak in my own life. It has been painful and exhausting. But God has proven himself faithful once more, providing the answer to prayer that could come only as I persevered and held onto every shred of hope I could muster. I don't know what your struggle may be today, but I have it on the authority of Scripture that God will come through for you if you do not grow weary and give up (Hebrews 6:9).
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