Most of us have a mental image of the ideal believer—shiny-faced, unquestioning, always good and cheerful and obedient. So what about those who struggle and grumble, doubt and disobey?
Sometimes God blesses them and makes nations out of them.
Jacob was no model of godly behavior. He lied and cheated and deceived. Talking to his father, Isaac, he referred to “the Lord your God.” Fleeing from his furious, betrayed brother Esau, Jacob made a brazen bargain with God: “’If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God’” (Genesis 28: 20-21). Twenty years later, Jacob returned home, laden with wives and children and flocks, and on the way, he physically wrestled with the Lord. And God told him, “’Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome’” (Genesis 32: 28). Only then did Jacob acknowledge the Lord as his God and build an altar to Him.
The name Israel means “he struggles with God.” The Lord chose this God-wrestler to be the father of a nation and to bless all the nations through his descendant Jesus.
Perhaps we should alter our mental image of the ideal believer to include those who struggle with God, ask the hard questions, take doubts to Him—and overcome.
How about you? Wrestled with God lately?