Jacob has spent his life searching for blessing, but avoiding God.
God is dangerous. He is the aggressor in the narrative. He is not comfortable to have around. Yet in the struggle with God our relationship with him grows and our faith is immeasurably deepened.
It is true that prayer is a struggle against our sinful nature, which retains its disinclination towards prayer, so that to wrestle in prayer is struggle against ourselves. But prayer can also be a struggle against God. This was Jacob's experience and, as we have seen, his experience was defining for the people of God. It is not, of course, that a reluctant God can be won over by our persistence. It is rather that God also purposes for us to deepen our relationship with him - he wants us to share the intimacy of the trinitarian relationship, and rattling through a list of prayer requests falls far short of this purpose!
God may actually resist us when we pray in order that we in turn may resist and overcome his resistance, and so be led into deeper dependence on him and greater enrichment from him at the end of the day. (Packer)
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
On Jacob wrestling with God
Quotes from Tim Chester The Message of Prayer pp.96-98