The Christian life can be confusing. We have a God who has accomplished it all for us and still works in our lives, yet we still struggle, and life is difficult. We struggle with our own sin and the sin of others around us. We even struggle with God.
Jacob is a man who struggled with everyone around him. He struggled with his brother in the womb and out. He struggled with his parents to steal the birthright. He struggled with his father in law over which daughter he could marry. He struggled with his wives over the number of children he was providing them. Jacob even struggled and wrestled with God in human form.
When he wrestles with God he is fleeing from his father in law and on his way back to the brother who, the last time he saw him, was intending to murder him. He was nervous about going back, rightly so. The last time he saw his brother he had recently stolen the birthright and his brother had murder on the mind.
Jacob was a man who understood what it was like to struggle with the people around him.
The night before he anticipates he will meet his brother he settles his family in and goes off to sleep by himself. “And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.” Genesis 32:24-25.
This man he was wrestling was God. He wrestled with God and won.
During this wrestling match Jacob received a new name, a limp because of his hip, and a blessing from God.
God was in all the struggling.
God was in Jacob’s wrestling match and he has promised to be in ours too.
God is in the struggle and He is for us.
Christmas time can be a time when we see those we haven’t seen or those we struggle with. At Christmas we may find ourselves in the same situation Jacob did. The last time you say your brother (or any other relative) may have been an election year. Perhaps the conversation got out of hand and things were said in haste. Chances are you did not fight over a birthright. But maybe there was something that has been passed down in the family that was fought over.
Because of these strained relationships Christmas can become a struggle.
The drive to Christmas dinner can feel like an inner wrestling match. Perhaps making the decision to get in the car is a wrestling match and you are asking why you are doing this when it is only going to end in harsh words and hard feelings.
Whatever decision you make know that God is in all those struggles. He is in the struggles at the dining room table.
He is in the struggles of deciding to go.
He is in the struggle of being there.
P.S. I AM NOT A FAMILY PSYCHOLOGIST SO IF YOUR FAMILY IS ABUSIVE IN ANYWAY PLEASE KNOW THAT JESUS IS IN THE STRUGGLE WITH YOU AND SEEK HELP FROM A PROFESSIONAL.
He is in the struggle of seeking professional help when necessary.
He is not afraid to wrestle with you. He is not in the match to defeat you. He is in the match FOR YOU.
Whatever the struggle is for you this Christmas season know that God is in the struggle with you. He is with you and FOR YOU.