Encounter with the Risen Lord
Vs.30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”
This passage is a familiar one to some and it depicts the moment when Jacob wrestles with God. In order to fully grasp the intent of this story, it is important to reflect upon the life of Jacob from the beginning of his birth. With a name such as Jacob, “he grasps the heel”, to Israel “he struggles with God”, his name signifies his consistent struggle in life. Life was not easy from the time of his birth and it continued as he grew with struggles with Laban, the work he did to marry the woman he wanted after 14 years, and his struggle with his brother. For a long time in his relationship with God, he only referred to God as the God of my father Abraham, the God of my father Isaac (Gen. 32:9), but then he finally through God’s promises to Him, he comes to realize who God was to him personally and not just to his ancestors. Jacob remembered that God’s promises over his life is what would prevail over all that he had encountered in his life (Gen. 32: 9-11). And it was not too soon after that he “wrestles with God”.
What a beautiful imagery and how many times have we ‘struggled’ or ‘wrestled’ with God in various part of our life or circumstances in our lives that were handed to us that were unfavorable in our eyes. We struggle and we at times may question the will of God in our life. But when we look upon the life of Jacob who had struggled from the time in his mother’s womb, he eventually came back to the promises of God which spared his life (vs. 30). The same God that Jacob struggled with is the same God who is the Risen Lord who yearns to have a relationship with us. Life may bring us times of struggle and difficulty, yet a wrestle or encounter with the Risen Lord can spare our lives to bring us life everlasting. Although Jacob struggled with one problem after the next, he still acknowledged God in his life. Sometimes our struggles may draw us nearer to ‘wrestle’ with our Lord. ‘Wrestling’ with our Lord and seeking Him face to face is the everlasting, life-giving salvation that we as human beings need in our lives every single day. Through our struggles or even in the midst of our doubt, just as Jacob may have encountered, God’s promises over our life prevails. Remember the Risen Lord, whose love was displayed on the cross for you. That same God seeks to have an encounter with you, whether it be through struggles or difficult times, He wants to speak His promises over your life to renew you and spare your life so you can experience everlasting love and life.
Lord Jesus, you know every moment and every struggle in our life. Allow those moments to bring us to our knees to wrestle with You so we may encounter you face to face just as Jacob did. Help us to remember Your promises and Your truths over our lives and help us to write them upon our hearts and minds on a daily basis. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Our temporary, earthly struggles may be the moments in life that lead us to “wrestle” with the Lord and encounter Him and His promises over our life, bringing us new and everlasting life.
Betty Vattakunnel, Trinity MTC, Houston, TX
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church