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Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Spiritual Struggle

Genesis 32: 22-26

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

We all want things to go smoothly in our lives.  We don’t like problems and there are times when we ask God, “Why?”

Jacob had a large problem in front of him by the name of Esau.  This is a problem he created and now Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men.  Jacob of course was worried that he and his loved ones would be killed (as Esau had sworn to do).  

The struggle between Jacob and the stranger all during that long night symbolizes, in many ways ,Jacob’s struggle with Esau, his struggle with himself, and his struggle with God.  Jacob’s hip was injured and he walked with a limp.  But I am sure each time he felt a twinge of pain, he remembered that fateful night.

Our wounds from our spiritual struggles can serve as reminders that God was present during our darkest times; reminders of our times of deepest need and deepest fear and of finding God even in those depths.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

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