Wrestling with God
Jacob was left alone and wrestled with a person until daybreak. (Genesis 32:24; read Genesis 32:22-32)
Jacob wrestled with a divine being and did not let go of this Mysterious Nocturnal Being until he received a blessing. As day began, Jacob’s wrestling partner departed and Jacob goes forth, a new person, but with a limp.
These days, many of us are wrestling with God. Our world has changed and we no longer have a sense of normalcy. We may be asking, “Why is this happening? Who is at fault? Will I and my loved ones make it through the pandemic? Where is God in this time of pandemic?”
Questions are key to a growing faith. They are also key to discovering God’s presence in our daily lives. A healthy faith seeks to separate fact from fiction, and truth from superstition. This takes questioning. In many ways, faith is like science: while faith deals with ultimate and global realities and also the unseen in contrast to what can, in principle, observed with our senses, both faith and science are at their best when they question, discern truth from error, and allow themselves to change as a result of new evidence.
For Christians, our faith involves the dynamic interplay of scripture, our own experiences and others’ experiences of God, reason (does it make sense), the insights of tradition, and what we learn from the culture around us (psychology, history, science, literature.) These experiences are always subject to further reflection and growth, and that is good news. Just as Jesus and his first followers reinterpreted their tradition for their time, that is our calling in our time.
We can like Jesus grow in wisdom and stature and in the process have a deeper relationship with God and our neighbor.
Loving God, give me a learning and loving heart. Let me we open to new insights. Let me be willing to see my faith with new eyes and grow spiritually. Amen.
Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod pastor, professor, and author of over 50 books including HOPE BEYOND PANDEMIC, FAITH IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC, GOD ONLINE: A MYSTIC’S GUIDE TO THE INTERNET, and PROCESS THEOLOGY: EMBRACING ADVENTURE WITH GOD.