“I will not let you go unless you bless me.” – Genesis 32:26
Haunted and Terrified
This is my story. This is your story.
In Genesis, we find Jacob terrified—terrified because he is about to encounter his brother, Esau, and they are not on the best of terms. They had deeply hurt each other in the past, and as we know, time doesn’t always heal all wounds. There had not been redemption in this relationship and it followed Jacob…
It haunted him.
Jacob KNEW that God had blessed him. He KNEW that God had been a hedge of protection around him throughout his lifetime. He KNEW that God was faithful… But, he didn’t trust that God could handle his encounter with Esau. Even though all of the Lord’s power and might was with him, he still feared his encounter with one man.
Wrestling with God
Jacob and his family, which included 2 wives, 12 children, hundreds of servants and livestocks, had been living with his father-in-law. Needless to say, Jacob was ready to make a life for himself. So, they packed up and began traveling.
Traveling towards the town that his brother, Esau, lived.
And Jacob was terrified.
Jacob sent everyone away—thousands of his livestock, hundreds of his family and servants; and then when he was alone, God showed up.
I think Jacob knew that God would show up once he got rid of all the distractions. I think Jacob told God he needed to talk to him. I think that’s why God showed up.
All night long, Jacob wrestled with God and God let him. God knew that Jacob was scared and angry, so He let Jacob get out all of his frustration.
They fought. All. Night. Long.
Finally Jacob cried out, “I WILL NOT LET GO OF YOU GOD. I’m scared. I’m terrified. I’m mad. I love You, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen next in my life. I trust You, but I’m still human. I want to have complete faith that you will protect me, but my flesh is weak. So I’m not going to let go of You, ever. But I’m not going to let go of You tonight until You bless me. Give me reassurance. Let me know You are in this with me…just one more time.”
God had already told Jacob before that He had blessed him. He had already come through with Jacob time after time. Protecting him. Delivering him. Even when Jacob did something stupid. Even when things didn’t turn out the way Jacob expected, God delivered.
But interestingly, on this night, when Jacob spent hours hashing it out with God, God didn’t get mad.
He didn’t curse Jacob.
He didn’t punish Jacob for his fear or unbelief.
He blessed Jacob.
Because of Jacob’s persistence, because of his longing for more, because of his perseverance…God at this moment gave Jacob a new identity.
Sometimes we encounter those life-defining moments with God. The moments where we show God that we are serious…serious about longing for Him no matter what the cost. No matter what the outcome. God sees a spark in us, and He uses that spark to create a manifestation of change.
And so it happened with Jacob. God changed his name from Jacob to Israel and told him that a great nation would come from him.
Does That Mean God Answers My Prayers?
God’s blessing didn’t mean Jacob walked away unscathed.
Jacob wrestled with God because of his fear of one man…or at least that’s what Jacob thought.
But really Jacob was wrestling with God for a deeper, much more important issue: for the complete certainty that although Jacob would not know God’s reasonings for everything, God would answer his prayer in some way. It may not be the way Jacob intended, but it would be in a way that God would protect Jacob and fulfill His promise to Jacob.
You Won’t Leave Unchanged
When wrestling with God, you won’t leave unchanged.
Jacob went into his fight with God strong, determined, and scared.
He left the fight humbled, faithful, and courageous.
God wanted Jacob to have a constant reminder of the time he wrestled with Him, so he placed a physical marking inside of his hip.
Now Jacob didn’t need to fear his encounter with Esau anymore, because he had fought with God and won.
The Fight for Your Marriage
Right now, you are fighting for your marriage. Even though you know deep down inside that God is with you, maybe you’ve forgotten. You have become so focused on the fear of the outcome that you have forgotten the power of the Lord in your life and all of the times He has protected you before.
Maybe it’s time for you to wrestle with God.
Maybe it’s time for you to hold on to God so tightly that you say, “God, I want you. I need you. I’m scared; but one thing I know for sure is that I am NOT LETTING GO OF YOU, and I need you to bless me. I need a reminder that you won’t leave me.”
Let it all out. Give it all to God. He wants you to wrestle with Him today. He wants to take your pain away. He longs to carry your burdens.
Does that mean your marriage will be saved? I don’t know.
Here’s what I do know: God will hear your prayers. He will let you wrestle with Him. He won’t let you leave unchanged.
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:30, NIV
A New Name
You will come out on the other side with a new name—a name that doesn’t leave you abandoned, a name that doesn’t leave you afraid, a name that gives you strength and confidence, and a name that marks you as a child of the living God.
And after you have wrestled with God, you will fear no man; because just as Jacob, you too have wrestled with the Lord Almighty and He did not let you go without a blessing.