Sunday, June 5, 2016

Claim Your Blessing

The Lord commands Jacob to return to the land of Canaan. This is not an easy commandment as he has to pack up considerable wealth, two wives, handmaids, children galore, flocks and herds, servants and worst of all, he must face Esau on his return. Nonetheless, Jacob does as the Lord commands. However, before he completes his journey, he sends his entourage ahead and while alone, he wrestles with an angel--or perhaps it was a man or even God himself. It is however possible that he wrestles emotionally and spiritually through the night with himself. Is he brave enough to move forward? To risk his life? Remember he sent messengers ahead to check out the situation and learned Esau was meeting him with 400 men.

I am intrigued and perplexed (I'm not alone), by the story in Genesis 32.

We tend not to take the verb wrestle literally in our conversations. "I wrestled with that concept," is clearly understood as mentally coming to terms with something difficult. Yet wrestle is such a literal word which conjures up clear visual images. I see my cousins wrestling in the pool, I see a wrestling match played out on a big mat in a gym, I see my grandson and his father rolling on the ground, legs entwined.

Since contemplating the story of wrestling with an angel, I've settled on my own dear-to-my-heart interpretation.

Everyone struggles. It may be everyday or it may happen periodically or in one difficult night. The struggles may come from our own mistakes or from someone else's; the struggle may come from wrestling with a commandment from God. But...we are not expected to wrestle alone, and when the struggle is over, there is always a blessing.

After Jacob's difficult night, the presence asks Jacob to let him go, but Jacob will not.

"And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."

In every struggle there is a blessing and we can't let it go until we see or even ask for the blessing. Even claim the blessing that now belongs to us.

In this claim, we may see the purpose of struggle.