This story of Jacob’s wrestling match always raises more questions than answers for me. With whom was he wrestling? Was it God (as Jacob came to believe), an angel, or a man? If it was God, why wasn’t Jacob just thrown to the ground in two seconds flat? Why does Jacob’s hip get put out of joint? (That’s always seemed to me a bit underhanded.) What’s really going on here? And is there any spiritual significance or is it just an explanation for why Jews “do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket?”
I was speaking with someone recently for whom life just seems very hard, a daily wrestling match. Yes, there are occasional moments of respite, but on the whole, life just feels like a never-ending struggle. The question sometimes even arises as to whether it is even worth trying to push on.
Jacob is affirmed as having “prevailed.” One definition has to do with “triumph,” but that is clearly not what happened here. We have to work our way down the list of definitions until we come to the one that sees prevailing as persistence. Jacob is blessed, not because he was successful, but because he would not give up.
Lord, when life feels frustrating and overwhelming, bless me with the courage to continue, trusting in your grace. Amen. — CN