If you like action-adventure, check out the Genesis 32 account of Jacob’s Jabbok River wrestling match. Jacob is camped out and stressed out, awaiting a potentially dangerous confrontation with his estranged brother. His worries are interrupted when a stranger jumps him in the darkness. By morning, Jacob realizes he’s spent the night wrestling God; somehow he manages to limp away blessed. In the process, he learns that God is more than willing to be grappled with, and that holding on for dear life is the way to go.
It’s amazing – and sobering – to realize that Jacob has the strength to resist God. It isn’t until the angel of the Lord dislocates Jacob’s hip that Jacob surrenders and requests what he’s really been fighting for – a blessing. My husband, a wrestling coach, tells me the hip is the wrestler’s pivot
point, the core of his strength. God can’t give Jacob the blessing he desperately needs until he
incapacitates him at the center of his human power.
…There is testimony among believers past and present that at the end (and only at the end) of the human rope is strength and peace beyond compare. Maybe that’s what Jesus was getting at when he said the poor in spirit get the kingdom of heaven. With death on a cross looming on his horizon, he was intimately familiar with the victory that comes only through magnificent defeat.
I don’t know that it ever feels good to have our own strength overcome. But if we want to be blessed, if we want to relocate from living in our own resources to resting in the middle of God’s goodness, power, and provision, sometimes a little dislocation is necessary. Just ask Jacob.