I don’t know a lot about wrestling–either the “professional” kind featured on television or the actual competition in which local students and world-renowned Olympic athletes compete–so I’d like to very quickly move on to the wrestling match that represents the vast majority of my wrestling knowledge.
Jacob was on his way back to meet his brother Esau, afraid of how or if his brother would receive him after all these years and after all the wrong that Jacob had done to his brother. We’re told that Jacob was left all alone for the night, when a man came and wrestled with him until daybreak. We’re told in Genesis 32:25, “When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.” Again, I don’t know a lot about wrestling, but I don’t think that dislocating an opponent’s hip with a single touch is a common move. It was a demonstration of superior power and remarkable control.
If the man wrestling with Jacob could dislocate his hip with a single touch, then Jacob was no match for him, and yet, the man patiently wrestled with Jacob all through the night. As Jacob and this man conversed, Jacob realized who he was wrestling. There is only one who is so strong and so patient. There is only one with the power to change our identity and the love to patiently pursue us all the way to the darkest night of our lives. It is the God who always intended to dwell with His people. It is the God who promised that He would never leave Jacob alone until He had kept all His promises. It is the God who sent His Son to die for us while we were still sinners. It is the God whose Spirit now dwells within the hearts of all those who believe in Jesus.
God was powerful enough and patient enough to finish what He started in Jacob’s life, and God has not changed. That’s good news for us no matter what fears or uncertainties we face today. I may not know a lot about wrestling, but as Paul wrote in Philippians 1:6, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God always finishes what He starts, and He calls us to fight the good fight of faith until we see Him face to face.