Wrestling with God is essential to walking with God! – Ryan Paulson

24 And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 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. – Genesis 32:24-25 

Wrestling is always an exercise of strength against strength. It can’t be done without gripping one’s opponent and using closeness to one’s advantage. Strategies to improve one’s chance of winning include pressing certain nerve endings, twisting previously injured joints, or concentrating on one particular joint where continuing would cause injury. In today’s passage, Jacob is wrestling a ‘man’ who uses such quantity of strength to cause Jacob’s hip to be put ‘out of joint,’ but ironically this doesn’t diminish the struggle, as it should have. With his hip out of joint, Jacob begins to cling to the ‘man’ until the man asks Jacob to release him.

In Psalms 22, we find David grappling with God in prayer. David feels God has abandoned him and as if his bones are ‘out of joint.’ As he recalls previous times when God answered the prayers of his people and saved him from dire circumstances, he describes his anguish in God’s present silence. He begs to hear God’s voice again.

Perhaps you’ve felt this way – you’ve done what you believe necessary to receive God’s answer only to hear crickets. Like David, you’ve begged and pleaded for God’s help. Then, when the wrestling match of that particular life event or an inner struggle was over, you, like Jacob and David, found yourself panting for breath, locked in God’s embrace. For a time, life seems ‘out of joint,’ but the result is true intimacy with God if you let him close. Read Psalm 22 and write out your own Psalm recounting in honest detail your heart’s struggle. At the end, don’t tap out, simply cling.

“I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within me.” — Psalm 22:14 NASB

By Rich Obrecht