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.”
Struggling with God is something that we all do. It is a part of being totally human. We struggle because we don’t understand, we struggle because we are angry or ashamed, and we struggle because we are afraid. To be honest, I don’t think God really minds when we struggle or wrestle with Him. He knows that sometimes, the only way to work something out is to fight through it. Jacob experienced this one night when he was alone in the desert. He was obviously going through something major because he wrestled with God through the entire night until the sun began to rise (Gen 32:24). He wrestled so much and with such persistence that God realized Jacob was not going to give up so He wrenched Jacob’s hip to get him to stop (Gen 32:25). Now, at no point do I believe that God wrenched Jacob’s hip because He felt Jacob would beat Him. He is God after all, that would be like a toddler fighting against his father, there just isn’t any possibility that it could end up coming out in favor of the toddler. I picture it like this, God knows we need to fight through our struggles so He lets us fight. We fight with all of our might trying to prove our point and God, He pretends along with us so we feel like we are getting somewhere. I don’t know if you’ve ever fought for any length of time but it’s can be pretty exhausting. The longer we fight against God, the more tired we get and God knows this. Eventually we realize that the very thing we were fighting for just isn’t worth the constant struggle against God and we collapse. Here’s the key though, God doesn’t let us fall to the ground after we stop fighting. He picks us up into His arms to love us. Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). After you have fought through your struggle and you feel like you have nothing left, remember that Jesus calls the weary to Him so that He can give you rest.