Wresting With God
If you are joining me today from the Proverbs 31 devotional, welcome! I’m glad you stopped by.
Like many of you, I have started reading the Bible through this year. After Christmas, I was anxious to get started, so I have plunged into Genesis. What a book of adventure!
In Genesis 32:22 – 32, Jacob entered the wresting match of a lifetime. Can you even imagine? Getting into a match with the Almighty One? As if it wasn’t enough stress, meeting his brother, who last time he knew wanted to kill him! Now, trying to rest for the evening, he finds Himself fighting with the Holy One. As “the man” announces the end of the competition, Jacob says “No it is not; not until you bless me”.
Have you ever felt that you are in the middle of a wrestling match? We sure have. Like most families, we love the holidays. Love the songs, movies, decorations, baking and the many traditions we have created and carried down from our own upbringings. But this year, Greg and I found December to be filled with combat. Three days before Christmas, my book proposal was rejected for the second time that month. Greg faced obstacles like never before in his occupation in light of the present economy. The days seemed anything but “merry and bright”.
So, the question is: will I stay in the “ring” until the Lord blesses me? Am I in the competition to win or am I ready to throw in the towel?
Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.”
In 2008, I saw many choose to get out of the “ring”. Life was hard; they bailed. I don’t know if it is that thing many call “mid-life crisis”, the times we are living in or both. What I do know, is that it is not the way that we start the race; it is the way that we finish that counts.
Don’t give up! While you are wrestling with God, give it all your might! Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength that only He can give. Don’t quit, my friend! While you are struggling, look around you. There is probably a friend nearby who is also struggling. Encourage her and win together!
In December I finished reading through my One Year Bible for the third time. I need to get the One Year Chronological Bible, something a little different. I was really challenged by your devotion this morning. God has given me the verse Phil 4:3 this year…He laid some thoughts on my heart which I blogged about. Will I contend by His side in 2009? Thanks for sharing.
You can check it out here:
Contending for the gospel,
My son ran the 1/2 marathon a couple of months ago. The amount of training was amazing. I’m so proud of you! Nice devo. : )
I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your online devotional this morning. It couldn’t be more true. We strengthen our faith by consistent study of the Word, so that when trials come, we are equipped to handle them. Our spiritual armor does not do us much good when it is laying in a pile on the floor.
Unfortunately, our tendency is to neglect these things until the urgency of a trial forces us to spend time in the Word once more. So I guess that is one more reason to be thankful when those hard times hit– without them, we would be tempted to neglect our relationship with the Lord altogether!!
Thanks for a great reminder.
Thanks for you Prov. 31 devo this am! God brought it to my inbox on the perfect day as I am beginning today to train for a 1/2 myself. I am not a runner by any means but my husband has challenged me to at least try. My spiritual race began this am as well, as I opened up God’s word for so wisdom. This is just the encouragement I needed to get my day started.
Have a blessed day!
Thanks for the devotion the morning. I am in the last two weeks of training for a marathon. I ran one 4 yrs. ago and could so relate then to what the bible says about that life is not a sprint but a marathon, slow and steady, stay focused, stay disciplined, don’t run aimlessly.I am more disciplined with my running than with my study of scripture and prayer and I have felt God reminding me to be more disciplined. He is so patient and gentle. I hope this year is better and I become more disciplined than I was last year. Thanks for the encouragement. I thank God for using you and this ministry in a powerful way.
Because of Him,
Thanks for the devo this morning. A team from our church did a marathon almost 3 years ago and my husband and I have the bug to train for our 1/2 to get off some baggage. Not just physical but spiritual as well. The training for a marathon or 1/2 is very spiritual and what you said is so true. Thanks for the transparency.
I so related to your Proverbs31post this morning. It’s important for me to have my glasses,notebook, notecards and pen, along with my Bible, all together at night for morning reading and prayer. Before anything else I need time with the Lord.
Thanks for this encouragement not to quit. It reminds me of a story. It's a little long, but I hope you don't mind if I share it here.
"In his work, “Strong to the Finish”, author Craig Larson recounts the story of Tanzanian Olympian, John Steven Aquari. The date was October 20, 1968 and by 7:00 that evening, the Mexico City Olympics Stadium was beginning to darken. More than an hour earlier the runner from Ethiopia had taken the gold medal, winning the 26-mile race, and the last of the marathon runners were just leaving the first-aid stations. As the remaining spectators began to disburse, they heard police sirens blaring through the gate to the stadium. And that’s when they saw him.
As everyone’s attention turned to the gate, runner John Steven Aquari of Tanzania came limping into the Stadium. He was the last to finish the Olympic marathon of 1968. His leg was bandaged and bloody from a fall he had taken early in the race, and it was all he could do to limp his way around the track. The crowd stood and applauded as he completed the last lap. As he finally crossed the finish line, one man dared ask the question that was in everyone’s mind. “You’re badly injured. Why didn’t you quit? Why didn’t you give up?” Aquari, with quiet dignity said, “My country did not send me seven thousand miles to start this race. My country sent me to finish.” Finishing the race. Any runner will tell you that’s the most important part of all."
2 Timothy 4:7,8 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
Such a treat to see your name on the P31 devotional today. Continuing in prayer for you.
Love & prayers,