Wrestling with God
By Sarah Scudder
“Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”” (Genesis 32:24-26, NASB95)
I’ve always been confused by this passage. Recently I realized I had more in common with Jacob than I thought.
My husband has been a full time pastor for only a few years. Ever since I was saved I imagined myself becoming a pastor’s wife. The role of a pastor’s wife was always seen as a great position in my circle of friends. We thought the world of the godly pastor’s wives we knew. They were seen as super Christians, women who were valued in the church. These were the women who taught children and women’s Bible studies and had all the respect in the world.
When I started dating my childhood sweetheart who was studying for the ministry I realized my dream was coming true. I was excited to become a woman like the ones I highly valued as a teen. However, within a year of being a pastor’s wife I realized my naivety. I love our ministry and our church. It has been a source of joy in the Lord as well as a blessing. However, having never grown up in a ministry home, I am now learning that at times the role of a pastor’s wife can be hard, disheartening, lonely, and sometimes downright painful.
Currently we are experiencing a very hard and painful time. We have cried out in prayer together as well as individually for this particular trial to be fixed. It is during these times of prayer that I have understood the passage. My prayers have been a struggle, a wrestling match with God. Sometimes the struggle comes as I wrestle with God to fix my attitude toward the situation. Sometimes the struggle comes to pray at all. I struggle with trusting God to handle a situation that at times I try to fix myself. I struggle moment by moment to think on what is true. I struggle to think right things about God and remind myself daily that He is good, merciful, and full of love; not evil, mean, or absent. This time of struggle has gone on and on and has weighed on my heart to the point of exhaustion. But I will not and cannot let go of God. I cannot walk away until God blesses.
I understand what it is like to wrestle with God and come out different on the other side. The passage says, “. . . the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.” When you wrestle with God you never come out of the struggle the same way. There is a part of you that will be changed forever. However, this truth is what has drawn me to the wrestling match. The gravity of the trial has shown me unless I am different; unless God blesses me I have nothing. I need God to help me. So, I continue to cry out with Jacob, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Sarah is a recent addition to the m2m blogroll. She blogs at “Ministry’s Hard, Wear a Helmet.” She’s the wife of an associate pastor and has been serving with her husband for six years. They are lucky to be serving in the church where they met, grew up together, and got married. Sarah says, “It is a privilege to be serving God in full time ministry but at times it is hard.”
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