Struggling with God

I love to sword fight! There is nothing like the feeling of standing face to face with an opponent with a sword in hand, not sure who will walk away the victor.

There is an art to fencing, a strategy and an elegance in it. When I face an opponent that I am equally matched with I may not know that I am going to win but I am sure that when we finish the match my opponent will know they have been in a fight. The one thing that my coach Peter Gundunas has said is that leave it all on the strip. All your frustration, anger, irritation, anxiety — in short, everything on the strip. Use it all to win and then leave it there.

One of the reasons I like to sword fight is that I can step away from the strip, shake hands with my opponent and be done with it, win or lose. There are times that I wish that I could do that with God. This may sound odd coming from a preacher but at times I wish I could just fight it out with God get it over with, shake hands and leave it on the strip. But life is not that easy. If you read the Bible there are men who wrestled with the Divine, and they all came away from the encounter changed. My favorite is in Genesis 32:22-32. The scene is that of Jacob bringing his family back to the land of his birth. He knows that he will have to face an angry brother who may want to kill him. He spends one of his last nights before the encounter with his brother seeking his God.

Jacob wrestles with God physically all night and in the end he cannot let go. There have been times in my life when I have asked God the big questions; like why me, why now, why here, why this at this time? I have even thought to myself that I may be a heretic for even daring to ask God these things. I have come to realize that it is these questions that God wants to answer. He wants to wrestle with us all night and get to the point where neither of us want to let go, we’ve grown so close. There is no question too big for God, no problem too hard for Him to handle, no anger too hot that He cannot endure.

When we wrestle with God, when we are angry with the Divine, it is OK for us to ask the big questions. We simply need to be man or woman enough to accept the answers even if they are not the ones that we want. Jesus came to be part of our stories. He came to embrace us, flaws and all. He came because He loves us with an intensity that we cannot understand only accept. In this season when we think on the birth of baby Jesus, remember He came to take our sin, pain, anger, frustration, and angst. He wants us to fight with Him, and in the end win or lose embrace and leave it on the strip as we walk away closer then when we started.

Rev. AL Weeks (author, teacher, and pastor) and his family serves the fine folks of First Baptist Church of Kenai. FBCK is a warm fellowship of believers that are committed to speaking the truth in love. Join them Sunday mornings at 10:45 a.m.

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