Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
There is a story found in Genesis 32 about a night when Jacob, who happened to be alone, wrestled with God. It is written in the scriptures that as the struggle continued, God touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, which displaced it. Jacob, however, refused to let go. In verse 26, God said to Jacob – “Let me go for the day breaks”. Jacob boldly responded by saying – “I will not let You go unless You bless me.” Well, two verses later we read God telling Jacob: Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed. God would then go on to bless Jacob.
It’s important to note that a part of the reason for Jacob’s boldness was that he did not have a “plan B”. There was not: an alternative plan of action for use if the original plan should fail. (as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary). Jacob only had one plan. He was going to keep holding on until he received what he needed from God. Even when God directed Jacob to let go of Him, Jacob told Him no. It was Jacob’s willingness to continue to hold on, even with injuries and knowing that God could destroy him at any moment, that would put him in a position to receive God’s blessings. It’s a reminder to us that life isn’t about creating plan B’s to get the outcomes we need. Instead, it’s about how willing you and I are to hold onto God, when life would beckon us to let go.
Strengthening Our Resolve
Nevertheless, the greatest struggle that prevents us from holding on, usually happens in our minds. Without a detailed roadmap to create a sense of certainty, we are left with our faith… and also our thoughts. As our minds begin to process what is happening around and inside of us, it’s important to remember Philippians 4:8. It states:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
We become what we give our energy. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to start focusing on the “what ifs” that we contemplate in our minds. Often, those “what ifs” aren’t pure or lovely. Instead, they are usually filled with fear, worry, and regret. I am reminded, however, that it is written in the scriptures for us to meditate on what is true. Ultimately, God is truth. He is just, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy. God is asking us in this scripture to spend less time meditating on our situations, and more time meditating on His goodness.
When we do this, we remember all that God has already done for us, which strengthens our resolve as to what He will do next. Life will shake us. Injuries can happen, but in the end, we come out victorious. Like with Jacob, when we give God no other option, He honors our boldness and our willingness to stand firm in His presence.
Trusting in God’s Plans
Do you still have doubt in your heart? If so, remember Philippians 1:6. It states “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” We see this concept come to life when the Israelites, who were captured from Jerusalem, were carried to Babylon. God sent a message to these captives via the prophet Jeremiah. We read in Jeremiah 29:7 the following instruction: And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. In this verse, God reaffirmed to the Israelites that He was still in control, and guiding all that happened. Sometimes, we think darkness is running the show. God, however, will correct us.
Secondly, we learn that God encouraged the Israelites to pray for peace for their surroundings. In that peace, they would find it too. Usually, we pray for ourselves and the people we care about, but God wants us to go broader. When facing chaos, we should pray about our entire circumstance. This includes our bosses, our companies, our societies, and our children’s caretakers, because in their wellbeing, we can find ours as well. Moreover, God reassures us that even in the darkness, we are still able to access His power if we dare to hold on to Him. We can find encouragement for this in Romans 8:37-39, when the scriptures state:
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Power of Choice
In closing, I want us to take a quick look at the story of Naaman. He was a commander in the army of the king of Syria. He became a leper and could not find healing. In 2 Kings 5, his wife’s Israelite servant told him that he could be healed by a prophet in Israel. Eventually, to be cured, Naaman was told that he would need to wash himself in the Jordan river 7 times. Initially, he wasn’t too thrilled about this instruction, but his servants asked: if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” Naaman had a choice to make at this point, and he chose to dip himself in the Jordan 7 times.
Now, what did the first 6 accomplish? Technically – nothing. Spiritually – everything. With each dip, a sign of obedience was given. I don’t know if he really thought that the seventh time would make the difference, but I’m learning that when I only have obedience left, to God – it is still enough. My faith might be incredibly low, and my trust fractured, but that can’t stop my obedience. God sees us. He sees our hearts, and His compassion covers the depth of our souls. When we can’t, God always can… and that’s the power that comes when we don’t let go of God. Once you make that choice, God will bless you and give you everything needed to conquer whatever challenges that may come.
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