I feel like a bad Christian sometimes.
I don’t know where I stand on Universalism, Sexuality, Hell, and all those hard issues of this culture. I feel like they flare up like wrestling matches with God whenever I’m confronted with them. And that happens a lot because they are like our culture’s spear poking at the side of the church.
I was talking to a friend about this today and he told me a vision his sister once got. He said, “You know when you’re wrestling with someone, you have your hands and head all locked up with theirs, struggling to react to their movements. And then like in the story of Jacob, hips start getting knocked out of place. And it seems like it’s just a big messy losing battle. Well,” my friend said, “this is what she realized:
It’s when you’re wrestling with someone, that you are closest to them.”
After all, Jacob was renamed Israel, because it means, “wrestles with God.” And it was through Israel that Jesus came to free the world.
So, as I write these blogs, and struggle to use words to deal with heavy dilemmas, perhaps this is the type of wrestling match to which I should bring my best wits. I should approach my opponent fearfully because he is far stronger, but step close, toe to toe, and lift my eyes to him because he has been calling to me.
He wants me to engage him with my whole heart. With every muscle of this skinny body. He wants me to push when something seems unfair or unjust, like Abraham did when God told him he would destroy Soddom and Gomorrah. And he will feel it and react. And he will take hold of my arms, my head, and whatever else I put towards him and he will move me. He will show me it’s never as simple as I think it should be, and that that’s okay. Like a father staying up late into the night to teach something hard to his stubborn son or daughter. Maybe it is in this tug and pull that I will begin to understand His deep wisdom, and feel how he moves across America like dusk, and how he sees the millions of street lamps as they quietly blink on, and I will get the smallest glimpse of the ancient churning gears and cables on which He built the world.
So, perhaps I should not see these struggles as sad, or shameful, or as a waste of precious resources, but instead as part of the very essence of my relationship with God. And perhaps I should no longer feel lonely, or discouraged in them. In fact, perhaps when I feel a new struggle take hold of my mind and my heart, I should take off my shoes for I am being invited again to meet with the almighty God on holy ground.
And when I request a blessing from Him, like Jacob did, maybe I should not expect it to always be the release from struggle, or be a light, easy walk, but instead expect something like a disjointed hip because it is the struggle to walk that may invite me back to wrestle with him again.
And be close to Him.
On my knees.
Arm in arm and eye to eye.
Feeling the shape and movement of the original and timeless God.
On holy ground.
Raw Spoon, 3-1-16