Unresolved issues keep us awake. We are busy rehearsing in our minds all the imminent issues coming our way. We are constantly figuring out ways to take control of the situation. But we find none satisfactory. Thus, we choose to go back to sleep. But the more we want to do so, the more wide awake we become.
In Genesis 32, Jacob could not sleep. None of his companions could calm his nerves to face his brother Esau. Fear gripped him when he found out that Esau was coming with four hundred men. He scrambled to come up with ways to appease his brother. Finally, late in the night, he came up with a last-minute plan. He sent his family and all his possessions across the stream. He did not join them. He was left alone to face the inevitable situation. Perhaps his last option was to seek God and pray. But didn’t he pray to God the other day “O God of my father Abraham…Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children” (Gen 32:9-11). However, it seemed that God remained silent despite his plea.
Just then, God met him as a mysterious stranger. He wrestled with Jacob all night. Jacob summarized his wrestling experience “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered” (Gen 32:30). Jacob’s “face” time with God was his turning point. He received blessings and a new name signifying a character change.
Like Jacob, in life we may keep facing intimidating and disheartening times. When relationships get entangled, confidence shaken, sickness recurs, pressures mount, moods swing, etc., instead of escaping or shoving matters aside, we can choose to have ‘face’ time with God.
These are the times, in bleakness, I choose to wrestle with God, jostling with Him on matters that trouble me much. I find myself as if I have entered a wrestling ring, pulling, tugging, rolling over repeatedly on the ground as I intensively intercede and plead to God in my prayer. I sweat through my prayer time with God. In my desperation and tiredness, I remember that I told God that I would not let go. Like a frightened baby clasping onto her mother’s hand in her sleep, I continue to hang on to God until He speaks to me. Many times, God ‘shows’ up by ministering to me and speaking to me through different ways. God lifts my downcast spirit and turns my mourning into dancing. I find that I can sing in my spirit to Him even though the matter might not yet be resolved. Through the face time, God changes my countenance. I find hope and strength while waiting because I feel I am in His courts and in His presence.
God desires our face time with Him. He wants us to wrestle with Him in our prayers. When we are weak, He is strong. We do not need to be intimidated by those unpleasant events. We can walk away from the ring as a winner when we learn to let God’s will prevail in us. We will confidently trust God and pray that “Father, not my will but Yours be done.”
I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalms 40:1-3
By Sister Serin Chng