What a strange concept, for God to “struggle.” How can we believe in an all-powerful God and at the same time assert that He struggles.
The story of Abraham and Isaac seem to be fairly smooth when you look at the life of Jacob. Jacob struggles even before he is born, and loses. He ends up as the twin who is born second and loses the title of “First Born.” He uses his brother’s temporary weakness to take away his birthright, and then cheats him out of his blessing.
As Jacob flees his brother’s wrath, he ends up getting cheated by a bigger cheat: his father-in-law. He marries two sisters who are at war with each other over his affections, and ends up fleeing his father-in-law. It is God who intervenes and keeps Laban from harming him when he catches him. At the end of years of running and fighting, we find Jacob alone, and still struggling.
“Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Gen. 32:24-30)
After struggling for a blessing with everyone around him, he finds his real struggle against God. After wrestling with the Lord, he comes to a place of relative peace. A peace through surrender. It is after this event, that there is reconciliation with his brother. “Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” (Gen. 33:4) Jacob has made peace with God, and now he can see his brother in a way that he had never seen him before. He says:“inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me.“ (Gen. 33:10)
You may find that the lack of peace you have with those around you never comes to reconciliation because you are still struggling with the Lord in your life. God’s touch leaves both a blessing and a limp. Examine if you are still struggling with Him for control of your life and come to the place of peace where you will find the acceptance of your brother whom you now see as an adversary.
Does God “struggle?” Yes. He struggles with us for our own peace.
This article originally appeared on CBN Israel, August 11, 2017, and reposted with permission.