*picture above: “Lover’s Quarrel with the World no. 3″ by Sarah Michelle
On Sunday I spoke from Genesis – the story of Jacob and Esau. The point of the message was how Jacob had spent much of his life on the run—avoiding the uncomfortable and difficult in favor running to a new place… until that one fateful night. Even as he was attempting to return home, he had a back-up plan to run. But the evening before his journey home, a Stranger came out of the dark and started to wrestle him.
They wrestled back and forth throughout the night. There were opportunities for Jacob to flee—to go on the run (again)—but for some reason he refused. He wrestled and wrestled and held on for dear life. He wrestled until there was breakthrough. He wrestled until the blessing came.
This point—wrestling and continuing to wrestle until there is breakthrough—is not a sign of something unhealthy or wrong, but rather a sign that you are alive! Wrestling with relationships, faith, understanding Scripture… even with God, is good. It means you are alive. It means you haven’t given up. It means breakthrough is just around the corner. It means you’re not living on the run any longer.
On this point of wrestling and continuing to wrestle, I shared this quote from the late Rev. William Sloan Coffin:
There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with their country, a reflection of God’s lover’s quarrel with all the world.
Then I said…
God loves the world relentlessly. Always has, always will. But just because he loves the world, that doesn’t mean he celebrates everything taking place here—the hatred, violence, wars, injustice—no, I think sometimes God sees what’s going on and says, “I’m taking a knee.”
One day, somehow, we will stop the fighting, wars, and executions and start loving one another. Eventually that time will come because what originally was put into our souls was not hatred for others but love. Let us do everything we can to make this time arrive as soon as possible. —Leo Tolstoy