Today's account is Jacob journeying back to his homeland, preparing to meet his brother for the first time in twenty years, and wrestling with God.
What hit me today, that I never really considered before was, why was he wrestling with God?
Did he want to run away from the fear of his brother (the consequences of his earlier deception)?
I love Jacob’s prayer where he asks for God's protection and reminds God, "You told me to come back here, and You said You would be with me, and You said You would make my descendants numerous. You know that won't happen if my brother slaughters us all, right?" (OK, that's my paraphrase.)
How many times have I prayed a prayer like that: "Lord, I know you led me to X, but things don't look so good right now...." Yet God is always faithful. I think sometimes He allows our "brother" to approach with "400 men" — that is, our circumstances to appear very difficult if not impossible — in order for us to recognize that, on our own, we cannot prevail.
We MUST trust Him in that situation, because it is totally beyond our abilities unless God steps in.
My most recent example was in 2015, when I signed my first book contract — the culmination of years of work and many promises from the Lord that He would finish what He had begun in me. If I had known when I got the contract that during the same six-month period I would be releasing my first book, writing the second book, and planning two weddings while working a demanding full-time job, I would have turned back in fear and said, “Impossible! Let me wait until after things settle down a bit."
When does life ever "settle down a bit?" God reminded me many times during those months that while I didn’t know what was coming, God did, and the timing was His. I confess there were some moments when my prayers sounded a lot like Jacob’s. And there were many moments when a snowstorm provided extra writing time or aspects of the wedding planning came together more easily than anticipated. How much sweeter it is to know that He carried me through it all rather than to think for an instant I had done it on my own. God is so good!