Last Sunday I shared with the church family that one of my fondest memories as a child with my grandfather was watching wrestling on television on Saturday afternoons. I know that is not very “high-brow”, but come on, have you met me? Tony Atlas, Abdullah the Butcher, Andre the Giant, Mr. Wrestling II, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair – these were the men of legends. People told me it was fake but it sure seemed real to me. And when our weekly hour of entertainment was over we would head down to the barn, breathless from this cosmic struggle between good and evil.
I want to invite you to wrestle with me. That is, wrestle alongside me. Together we are going to take on the Bible. The Bible itself does not tell us much about wrestling. The only genuine wrestling story we have in the Bible is the famous story from Genesis 32. There we read where Jacob wrestles with a man who is some angel or manifestation of God or something like that. That is when Jacob gets his name changed to Israel – the one who strives with God and mortals and prevails.
Which is why that story is one of my favorites – it is a metaphor for life with God, as well as life with these words of God we call the Bible.
I am inviting you and me to wrestle because it is out of laboring and striving that we grow, mature, and get stronger. The Bible is too important, too influential, too confusing and confounding to just take passively, flippantly or thoughtlessly. We dare not trust it to the loudest voice in the room or the most charismatic personality in the media. We not only wrestle on Sunday morning, but throughout the week as we engage life alongside these written words of God. It is not always easy and sometimes it is not pleasant, but it is in the striving that we wrestle out deeper truths.
The Bible is not like science, or art, or even history. It is a book of meeting and meaning. I hope that you have a place of meeting and meaning where you too can wrestle with God – and prevail!
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Peace and blessings,