Jacob was left there alone. Then some man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.
What a strange story! Jacob’s midnight wrangle with “some man” could be a tale right out of a suspense novel: furious wrestling with a mysterious figure in the darkness, no one to help him, and no answers to be had. We don’t know from the passage what the point of contention was between Jacob and this figure, but certainly it was vitally important to Jacob. Even though he must have been exhausted from moving all his family and possessions, Jacob grappled with him until very early in the morning.
Do you ever feel as if you are in a similar wrestling match? And with God, no less? You want answers to questions that don’t have obvious solutions: What do you want for my life, Lord? What do I do about this dire diagnosis? How do I raise my special-needs child or care for my ailing parents? You keep asking, but you may feel like Jacob: alone, in the dark, and waiting for answers that never seem to appear.
If that’s the case, don’t give up. Keep wrestling! Thank the Lord for all the ways in which he has cared for you in the past. Tell him about your current fears and hesitations. Trust that he is in the situation and will not abandon you to figure things out on your own. He may be answering you with silence so that you come to the answer yourself. Or he may answer you with another question. One way or another, however, he will show you a way forward.
In every situation, behind every burden or question, you have this assurance: God loves you and is committed to you. In his own time, he will bring to light what seems hidden in the darkness. Though Jacob asked, the man did not tell him his name. Yet in the silence, as Jacob continued to wrestle, he came to the answer himself: he had contended with God. And as a result, he received his life as a gift, a blessing from the One who wrestled with him.
Word Among Us