Fighting is an interesting concept that gets practiced in many different ways:
- the guy who flips me off because I cut in front of his car
- fighting in Afghan, Iraq, Libya & other areas
- fighting with our spouse over little things portending a bigger issue
- fighting with a friend over a misunderstanding or something that is wrong
There are lots of ways of fighting, some of which are better than others. When I was first married, Reece & I would have some normal disagreement, but my way of handling the conflict was to just shut down & disengage (aka – silent treatment). Reece didn’t really put up with that technique, saying that there was nothing constructive accomplished w my silence – it didn’t help resolve the conflict, make any progress toward a common goal or do anything constructive. Quickly, I realized that he was right. Since then, Reece & I can definately have some fights & heated conversations, but we don’t clam up & get silent. We also don’t take shots at each other’s person – we may not like the other’s behavior, but we don’t attack each directly. Consequently, while we’ve had some pretty sturdy conflicts, we also have developed some really good honesty & intimacy over the years.
I think the idea of working through a conflict with God is even more important than when we work through a conflict w our spouse. I don’t think that God is into a passive intimacy with us, where we just roll over & play dead. Think about some of the great men in the Bible: Job, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Peter, . . . . These men all had conflicts with God – good honest “fights” where they disgreed with God, wrestled with Him, challenged His integrity, confronted the discrepencies in the world with God’s character & sometimes just flat out debated with God. If we genuinely want a close relationship with God, there will be times when we will disagree with Him & I don’t think this makes Him nervous. Engaging with God whether through intense love or frustration & even anger is better than indifference & passivity. There is such a thing as a “right fight”.
I’ve never been one to watch wrestling – even in my teenage tv watching years i couldn’t get into it. Be that as it may, one of my fav Bible stories is with Jacob & him wrestling with God in Gen 32:22-31. I totally love this story because its very confrontational & has so many good life lessons. Here are a few things that stand out to me:
- Jacob wrestled alone: no one helped him, came to his rescue or even cheered for him. This wrestling match was between God & Jacob. There will be times when God will (or has) invite(d) you to wrestle through a problem with Him, by yourself. Don’t try to get other people to join your cause – wrestling is a one-on-one sport.
- Jacob wrestled in the dark: he couldn’t see well, possibly lost his bearings from time to time & couldn’t really tell what was going on around him. Sometimes when we wrestle w God, we can’t really see what’s going on – uncertain future, obscure present, unclear direction, etc.
- Jacob left this experience w a limp. Whenever you wrestle w God, expect to be changed. Infinite will always overcome finite.
- Jacob didn’t let go, even when his hip was wrenched. There are times when we want to quit on God, walk away, drop out of church, unplug & disconnect from Him – especially when we’re in a wrestling season w God. But these are the exact times when we need to hold onto Him the most.
There are lots of thoughts & insights about Jacob’s wrestling match w God – care to share any of your insights? 🙂
Ever struggled with God? What are some things that you’ve struggled w God about? I’m asking because tomorrow night i’m speaking about wrestling w God from Jacob’s experience in Gen 32. Truthfully, I LOVE this story of the interchange between God & Jacob. Its very gripping to me.
Personally, I’ve wrestled w God about a few things that include: uncertainty in my future, frustrations w various situations, relationships, not trusting God because things didn’t always turn out like i wanted, . . . . These are just a few things & I’m inviting you to share some of the things you’ve wrestled w God about – this would help me w my message & others to see that they’re not alone with this kind of experience. 🙂