Wrestling God

Genesis 32:26, Then He said, “Let Me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.”

Once again, Luther says it best, “We should not immediately cast aside courage and all hope at the first blow but press on, pray, seek, and knock. Even though He is already thinking of leaving, do not cease but keep on following Him just as the Canaanite woman did, from whom Jesus could not conceal Himself… For this is the highest sacrifice, not to cease praying and seeking until we conquer Him” (Lectures on Genesis, LW 6:139-140).

When we are in need, and then desperate need, we wrestle with God in prayer. We implore Him like a poor, smelly beggar. We pester Him with our cries. Never grow weary in such praying. Never turn away and give up, for God delights in our trust. He promised to be our refuge (Psalm 16), but even in refuge hard times can continue. Just as fugitive slaves found refuge in the Underground Railroad whilst slavers still hunted them, so as we find refuge in God, the Devil will continue hunting for us.

Fret not, for God answers persistent prayers according to His will, and may subsequently humble us afterwards; for just as He touched Jacob’s hip and gave him a permanent limp as a permanent reminder before He blessed him (Genesis 32:25-26, 30, 32), so He may give us some permanent limp before blessing us.

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