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To wrestle like Israel

“And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Genesis 32:26 (and the whole of Genesis 32 as passage)

I don’t know how to explain myself anymore. Does that sound weird? I’ve been writing and writing and yet I feel I haven’t written anything significant as of late. Mostly, I just need to get them off my chest because if I don’t I feel I might explode soon. But I find that the more I write on all these nothings, the more I actually feel I’m going to blow up. I’m serious. I have all these nagging thoughts in my head, it’s as if I’m wrestling with something I can’t define, something I can’t see. I’ve been so restless this week and the last that all I’ve been doing is writing to keep me afloat, and still I have no peace. I’ve been shifting back and forth to forgetting and remembering, –and it was only early this morning and a while ago through a conversation with a friend that I realized what’s been causing all these anxieties.

You know how they say that most of our struggles in life are always about control? That when something unfortunate happens, the first thing we want to do is “take control of the matter”, deal with it right away? Well, I’ve always known that fact to be true. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been “hands-on” controlling things around me. And it’s purely circumstantial, being a single girl, living independently outside parental supervision/scrutiny since I turned 18. Our circumstances in life have forced us to take control of many things, including those we would rather not have control over. Today’s struggles are no different: I find myself struggling for control over something circumstance has brought me recently. But the part about it being something “I don’t want to have control over” —that, I cannot determine yet. Maybe I’m somewhere in the middle: If I could have it my way, this is what I want to do. This is how I would do things. This is how things should come about. But I’m also bordering on an almost desperate God-please-have-it-your-way-instead-otherwise-if-it-gets-to-me-only-You-know-how-tragic-it-might-get.

So there you go: I’m actually wrestling with God. His control, or mine. (And it isn’t that simple, I’m afraid)

My friend BJ has been the object of my wrath these days. On a recent phone conversation, I was so passionate (and overly detailed) in explaining to him The Story that for a moment, I couldn’t hear anything else from his end (and that’s saying a lot, as BJ is already extremely quiet and probably the calmest person I’ve ever encountered in my adult life). I had to ask a number of times if he was still there and if he was still following the storyline –and I was grateful that not only did he get every single word I said, he was also able to process the story and come up with lots of brotherly Christian advices that aren’t exactly the comforting, this-will-let-you-sleep kind. “I think you’re just having a little bit of resentment towards God…” “A lot of times, ang sagot nya satin ay sarcasm din parang kay Job” “What happens if you learn he wasn’t?” (on a question I asked about knowing whether this particular man was good or not)

This week and last, I’ve been “wrestling with God” over questions that I’ve asked before, and until now, have found no answers. I know God does NOT owe me any explanation. He does not need to explain himself away to a girl who does not even know what questions she should be asking. I know that God’s ways are always better, and it’s best not to fight it. But he never restricted us to question them, either. In fact, He says in Isaiah, “Come, let us reason together.”

I don’t want to be mad at God –that is the last thing I want to do. I don’t resent God over the fact that he’s taken away what He’s ‘given’ to me for a short time. It’s not anger towards him. In fact, I think it’s more pointing to me than it is to him. I don’t intend to blame God or point a finger at him especially when he decides to intervene or take away something that was never mine to keep in the first place.

So to put me in proper perspective, He led me to Jacob; particularly to that night Jacob wrestled with Him endlessly, refusing to submit, finally being seriously injured. It was only until after the Lord injured Jacob that he decided to let go and submit. And in blessing him, the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel, which means “he struggles with God.”

A while ago, BJ also reminded me of Israel. How very much I am/we are like Israel. Going back and forth, obeying and disobeying, complaining, griping, objecting, rebelling. I’m walking in circles, walking the same path I’ve trodden before. I’m struggling with God, and I find that I will not come out of this unscathed, unmarked.

But that is what I earnestly desire. That is what I want.

When all this is over, I want to come out of this reasoning a humbler, perhaps a little wiser woman. I want to come out unable to question His reasons anymore, because I am undeniably convinced He knows best. I want to come out trusting Him again regardless of how I view all these as unjust and unfair. I’m asking a lot, I know. I might not even be prepared for what I’m asking Him. But I’ve determined this to be the only course to take. I would rather struggle with Him than just blindly (and deadly) take in all the struggles without a single thought or care or even question as to how this would make me closer to Him, or how all these would glorify Him.

I want more of You, Lord. Especially now, especially at a time like this when I want so much to take control. If it means breaking me, then break me, Lord. Isn’t that how blessings come? Through pain, through tears, through brokenness?

Then let me echo what Jacob cried out that night, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”

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2 thoughts on “To wrestle like Israel

  1. it takes a lot of character to take control and be in charge. but it’s also admirable to learn how to compromise. it can be tricky as compromise works only when all parties involved aren’t completely satisfied with the results.

    i wonder if you’ve read the book, the road less traveled. it starts with the sentence, “life is tough.” i came across it when i read an article on gov. grace padaca. it’s one of her favorite books. i kinda like its message. perhaps you should read it, too.

    have a happy easter!

  2. I’ve read it already, that’s Scott Peck :) Happy Easter as well! i’m out of town, and thank goodness there’s wifi :)

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