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“The Great Wrestling Match”

“Oh Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau.

I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children.

But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants…’”

Genesis 32:11-12

Two words form Jacob’s new name, Israel…wrestle and God. For Jacob, the struggle began long before the wrestling match with the Man who changed his name. In fact, Jacob’s greatest struggle had always been the tug of war that took place in his heart: FEAR vs TRUST.

Fear won the struggle twenty years earlier when Jacob fled from Esau. And even after God had promised Jacob, “I will be with you,” fear once again dictated when he fled from his uncle. Now, as Jacob is on his way to face the brother who wanted to kill him, we can hear the same struggle as he bears his soul to God, “I am afraid…but you promised…” One of those promises was, “I will treat you kindly,” and yet Jacob gave in to fear and tried to appease Esau with gifts. Fear kept winning over trust.

That same struggle resounds in our own hearts, “God, I know you promised to be with me,” and fear screams back, “But, you need to protect yourself.” The struggle between fear and trust is constant. So, amid this wrestling match, let’s remember: It is not a sin to struggle with fear…but we should never give up until that struggle makes us strong enough to trust.


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