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Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014

Wrestling with God

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012, at 8:39 AM

I love the story in Genesis 32 about Jacob wrestling with God. Jacob had spent his life trying to outshine and outdo everyone around him in order to get the big piece of the pie. Of course, he could always justify his own conduct in his own mind. He cheated his brother, Esau, out of his birthright and everything else that mattered. But like many "aggressive cheaters" he finally realized that he was at the end of his rope. Esau was out there waiting for him and he might not be as forgiving toward Jacob as Jacob might have wished.. That night Jacob wrestled with his God and his conscience. As daylight came upon him, he was given a new name and a new opportunity!

Many people, since, have wrestled with God and conscience as they felt called to change something that was unjust in their particular society. Martin Luther King, Jr. changed the norms of our society by having a dream, sticking with the dream and wrestling with those who wanted the dream crushed. As he sat in the Birmingham jail, he dealt with whether he was up to the task and he prayed for personal strength to make his dream some kind of reality.

The list of people who have wrestled with their God and their conscience is too long for any listing. Some ran from their dream and some pursued it without success. Others pursued the dream and then found that it was flawed. Wrestling with God always demands a faith that will not die even if the dream does. No one is promised a life that is all easy and fun!

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Theology is everywhere!
Jane Cooper Stacy
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I was director of alumni services and development at Southeast Missouri State University for 26 years and then retired. I also have my Master's in Religious Education from Midwestern Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. and have written for many religious publications. I was born in Charleston, Mo., daughter of a Baptist preacher, and I am the mother of three grown children.
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