The life of faith has always seemed less like a walk, more like a wrestling match to me.
In one of the most bizarre and beautiful stories of the Bible, Jacob struggles all night with a stranger. Some say it was an angel. I tend to think it was God. Jacob gets a new name at the end–Israel. Israel, which means “he struggles with God.”
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I preached this sermon on Jacob’s wrestling in my preaching class. I preached it just a few weeks after I signed the discharge papers at the hospital. Not many of my classmates knew then why I’d been absent from class or why I’d postponed my original preaching date. (Long story short: No one wants their preacher to ralph in the middle of a sermon, holy fool or not. In one of my wiser moments, I stayed home.)
My professor Chuck sat me down and had a Come-to-Jesus talk with me about what my mental health and how I could not drive myself crazy with perfectionism and fear about this sermon. “I’m instituting the ten-hour rule,” he told me. “You have ten hours to write and practice it. It’s an experiment. Let’s see how it goes.” It was maybe the best sermon I’ve ever preached.
So listen, if you will. And struggle, wrestle, fight this good fight, the way the people of God have always fought. Look on God, and live.
This post is part of a series, 31 Days of Healing. Check out Day 1 or the complete list of posts. If you want to follow along, you can also subscribe by email or subscribe in a feed reader. Or you can “like” the blog on Facebook. (We’re all about options here.) And thanks for reading!