Saturday, December 3, 2011


Let’s admit it. We all struggle with God. Our wants and desires are continually in conflict with God’s will for our lives. We struggle the hardest with questions of faith like the existence of evil and suffering in the face of an all loving, all powerful God. Here’s a little secret — it’s OK to wrestle with God.

Jacob wrestled with God in the 32nd chapter of Genesis. He wrestled with a mysterious stranger all night. When dawn approached the stranger dislocated Jacob’s hip and asked to be let go. Jacob agreed under the condition that he be given a blessing. The stranger declared that Jacob would, from then on, be know as “Israel” — a name that means “God Wrestler.”

This painting explores Jacob’s wrestling match on that life-changing night. The painting shows two opponents locked in conflict. It’s the kind of situation where the exhausted and weary opponents are supporting each other as much as struggling against each other. Their bodies are lit by a starry sky. The stars remind us of the Abraham’s covenant with God — that his descendants will be as many as the stars.

I would argue that God’s grace is big enough to allow us the honesty and freedom to wrestle. Like Jacob’s hip, God could put us in our place at any moment. Instead, God lets us wrestle — giving us support when we need it. The stars bear witness to our relationship with God. As Christians, we share in God’s covenants. We too are children of “Israel,” and therefore, “God Wrestlers.”

So go ahead. Let it out. Be like the Psalmists and cry out to God all that you consider unjust. We need not fear to approach God with our honest feelings, pains and doubts. Our questions do not alienate us from God. Rather, we encounter God when we question. There can be no FAITH without doubt. God’s steadfast love is strong enough to handle anything humankind can hurl at it. And when we DO wrestle with God, our perceptions of truth and the ways we live out our lives are forever changed.