by Chris Wogaman
Proclaim Member, Awaiting Call
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” –Genesis 32:26
I’ve never been a wrestler, of the literal type, at least. But I think we all know something about hanging on for our blessing.
The story from which the above quotation comes has both captivated and guided me through seven long years of wilderness wandering in waiting for a first call. And like Jacob, I’m going to hang on for my blessing.
Jacob’s brother, Esau, is threatening his life and the lives of those whom he loves. Who knows who this nocturnal wrestler could be? One of Esau’s men, perhaps. But here, in the darkness of night, in the wilderness, Jacob meets the one who has created and sustained him, in the form of a wily fighter who won’t let a fair fight get in his way of showing the upper hand.
The sensual element of physical wrestling, flesh-on-flesh and bone-against-bone, lights up these millennia-old pages with physical fire. I can almost see the sparks flying between them, like a buzz saw cutting a copper pipe. And I’m pulling for the underdog, for how many pipes make it through a saw without being cut into pieces?
Hanging on for the blessing, particularly in a religion that has devalued us, denied our relationships, and even put us to death in literal flames, can wear out the mightiest faith warrior. Among our Proclaim community are several such warriors, for whom that blessing didn’t come easy. But each fight, each struggle, each persistent battle for our blessing, strengthens us and those who come after us, and those who see and know the struggle in their own lives. Supportive community, such as this one, can inspire and support us in our darkest hours.
And we will have our blessing.
May you be strengthened with the supernatural strength of Jacob through the darkest nights of your soul, which will yield your richest blessing: a true heart of strong faith, which this world desperately needs.
Strengthen us, O God, for the struggle is long and the night is filled with challenges from outside our bodies and inside our souls. With your strong hand, guide us into that place of blessing that you have prepared for us, through your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.