May 04 2015

Verse for the Day: Genesis 32:24-30 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

One of the sports I participated in during my school years was wrestling. I didn’t try out for the team until I was a sophomore in high school, so there were many others more experienced than myself and, needless to say, it took me a while to win my first wrestle off during practice in order to compete in an actual wrestling match against another school. As a junior in high school I had gotten much better and even managed to make the varsity team several times and ended the year with a winning record.  During my senior year I managed to win a several tournaments and eventually went on to compete in the state tournament. In three years I went from knowing nothing about wrestling and only winning a few matches to a record of 20 wins and 3 losses and received a 2nd place metal in the New Mexico State Tournament in the 112 pound class. 

Earlier this year my 7 year old grandson Isaias decided to try out for the wrestling team and I got to watch him compete in several tournaments over the last couple of months. And just like me he struggled to win any matches as most of the kids he wrestled against had been wrestling for some time. But each week you could see Isaias getting better and better and while he still wasn’t winning you could see his determination, perseverance and the will to fight hard. And that determination and perseverance to not give up or quit paid off at the last tournament of the year when he won his first match of the year and ended up taking home a 3rd place metal. Wow! You couldn’t have wiped the smile off his face if you tried.

You know, life can feel like a wrestling match a lot of the time. There are times we feel like we’re in a wrestling match competing against someone or something stronger and more experienced than us. Sometimes our wrestling matches are even against our self and our self-image. We let doubts, fear, pride, our looks or lack of self-worth come into our thinking.  And just like Isaias and myself when we first started out wrestling you can feel stuck or trapped, beaten up, broken down and maybe even pinned to the mat and possibly ready to give up.

There is no doubt we will all end up in different kinds of wrestling matches throughout our life time. Some will be physical battles where we will have to fight sickness, cancer or some other attack on our body. Some will be emotional battles like the death of a loved one, a break-up in a friendship or marriage or some other attack on our emotional wellbeing. But the biggest wrestling matches we all face at times come’s in our spiritual lives. And we are not alone or the first to wrestle with our spiritual faith, as a matter of fact we are in good company. From Adam and Eve to Moses and the disciples they all wrestled with their faith at times, especially in their earlier years when they were just starting out. 

So here is the Good News I want to leave with you today. Regardless of what kind of wrestling match you find yourself in today there is always hope, rewards and blessings to come like we see in today’s scripture when Jacob physically wrestled God and was eventually blessed through his perseverance of not willing to give up. Or like my wrestling journey in high school as well as my grandson’s, Isaias, 1st year of wrestling what started out pretty ugly ended up as a blessing as metals were hung around our necks.  And the same will be true for everyone who wrestles throughout their life and feel they’ll never win. When you give your heart to the Lord and trust in Him, regardless whether you win anything here on earth, you will win the final tournament of life. But instead of a metal around your neck you will receive a crown of glory that will last throughout all eternity. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait till the day that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords calls me home and says “Well done” welcome home. I’m pretty sure when that day happens I’ll be just like Isaias when he won his first match, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off my face. If you need some coaching tip for your current or next wrestling match call the church office at (505) 334-6524 and let us help you grow in your spiritual game plan and strength.