#607 – Wrestling with God



As I’ve written about before, I went through a serious professional wrestling phase. For about seven years I watched hours of World Wrestling Entertainment programming every week. My friends and I would gather on Monday and Thursday nights for Raw and Smackdown. We would also pool our money and order each month’s pay-per-view. I loved professional wrestling, which is why I loved the sermon our pastor preached this past weekend.

He gave a sermon about Jacob’s wrestling with God. Now I imagine that Jacob wrestled God in a more traditional sense, attempting to pin and overpower his opponent. I like to think, though, that Jacob’s wrestling match with God was more like a WWE event. I would have loved to see both Jacob and God enter the ring with music and pyrotechnics. Jacob would have walked in to “Father Abraham” and God would have obviously walked in to “Our God is an Awesome God”.

Unfortunately the sermon didn’t paint that picture of Jacob’s wrestling match with God. It did, however, paint a great picture of submitting to God in order to become the people he created us to be.

From my extensive knowledge of professional wrestling I know that getting pinned isn’t a good thing. Even in matches with tables, ladders and chairs, getting pinned is still the worst thing that can happen to a wrestler. A wrestler could get hit in the face with a steel chair and fall off a 15 foot ladder, but if he got the pin and won the match it would all be worth it. When wrestling with God, though, it’s best to submit and let him win.

Wrestling with God helps us draw closer to him and become more like him. Jacob wrestled with God all night long and it forever changed his destiny. As he wrestled with God, Jacob was forced to examine his past as God changed his identity and his future. If we truly want to be like God, if we really want to be the people God created us to be, then we need to wrestle with God and be willing to submit. It’s only through surrendering to God that we can be like God.

As my pastor said this past weekend, we win when we lose to God. Getting pinned in the WWE may not be that great but, when wrestling with God, it’s the best thing that can happen to us.

What helps you surrender and get pinned by God?


2 comments on “#607 – Wrestling with God”

  1. I love the image of God marching into the ring to the strains of that Michael W. Smith song – ha! Can see it now.

    I also love the thought of winning by losing to God. Are you familiar with Frederick Buechner’s works? He has a sermon on this text entitled “The Magnificent Defeat,” which makes a similar conclusion.

    I’m always struck, though (no pun intended), the fact that God/the angel/the mysterious man tells Jacob that his new name means he has striven “and prevailed.” It’s not as though God delivers a full-body blow knock-out to Jacob. Jacob holds his own (is God letting him?) until he is struck on the thigh. A very strange and mysterious text.

    Thanks for another fun post – you’re on a roll lately!

    (Another good sermon title for a message on this text, about winning by losing to God, might be, “Let’s Get Ready to Huuummmble!” )

  2. As a fellow longtime WWE fan, this passage has a special place in my heart as well. Nice choices for the entrance music for each combatant. How true that what we see so often as losing is usually the greatest victory in God’s eyes! (Here’s a recent post from my blog on the same topic: http://wp.me/p3biNe-Gz)

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