Learning to Wrestle With God


Wrestling with God Part 4

The Bible is chock full of stories where people wrestle with God.

Abraham wrestled with God concerning the impending doom of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses wrestled with God when God called Him to go back into Egypt to free the Israelite slaves. He wrestled with God again in the wilderness when God decided to destroy the stiff-necked Israelites. Job wrestled with God while seeking for answers to all of his afflictions. Saul wrestled with God on the road to Damascus. Even Jesus wrestled with God in the Garden of Gethsemane. Wrestling with God is a biblical concept, and I believe it is a positive one.

Have you ever wrestled with God? Have you worried about troublesome Bible texts? Have you fled when God led you towards a difficult situation? Have you wondered why God isn’t doing more to “fix” this world? Have you grown weary with God’s timetable and His (seemingly) unwillingness to come back “soon”?

It’s easy to pretend problems don’t exist. It’s easy to ride along on the coattails of our parents’, pastors’, or friends’ faith. It’s easy to sweep our doubts under the proverbial rug. It’s more difficult to wrestle with the problems we see all around us. It’s scary to row out alone into the vast expanse of God’s Word, seeking after what God is trying to say to us, individually as opposed to what He had to say to others before us. It takes work, time and patience to confront our doubts (or even admit them).

The Christian journey isn’t an easy one. It’s difficult, messy, scary, confusing, long and, at times, dark. The faster we admit that, the faster we can start wrestling with God. You see, wrestling with God brings blessings. When we realize that the Christian journey is difficult, we can then understand that God is our only hope. When we grasp that the Bible can be messy, we can then understand that God is the One who can help us piece things together. When we comprehend that life in this world is scary, we can then fall upon God realizing He is our safe place. When we stop denying the confusion all around us, we can then stop pretending that we have all the answers (or need to). When we come to grips with the fact that the Christian life is long and hard, we can then accept that Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, is willing to walk alongside us. When we see how dark this world is, we can then call upon Christ to be our Light.

Wrestling isn’t always fun; it can be exhausting. Wrestling isn’t always easy; it can be difficult. Wrestling isn’t always pleasurable; it can be painful. Wrestling with God is not always what we want, but it is what we need. Our faith can be strengthened. Our love for God can grow. Our trust in the Bible can be invigorated. Our willingness to serve can be found. Our lives can be transformed.

I ask again, have you ever wrestled with God? Are you willing to start? If you’ve already started, are you willing to continue? Are you prepared to wrestle with God, expecting a blessing like Jacob? Are you ready to wrestle with God, expecting to see Him in a new way like Paul?

I am going to leave you with one final thought to ponder. Maybe you are comfortable wrestling with God. Maybe you’ve been doing it your whole life. But are you comfortable with allowing others’ to have their own wrestling match with God? Even if it looks different from yours? Do you trust God enough to let God work with people where they are, not where you think they should be? If your answer is “no”, then I believe you’ve found something else to wrestle with God about.

The Christian journey is about growth and transformation. When we stop wrestling, we stop growing. Never stop wrestling. Never stop growing. Never stop allowing God to transform you.

TJ Sands is a pastor in Oklahoma. He and his wife Sarah live in beautiful Edmond, OK.