Toss and turn, toss and turn. I lay wide awake, my mind spinning in circles, battling and wrestling with my thoughts, the situation surrounding me and the Lord. Maybe you’ve been there before, up all night wrestling through your struggles; whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Some nights it feels like a WWE match in my own room. I wake up exhausted and often without progress, only to fight the same battle again the next night.
After my last battle of the mind a few nights ago, I decided enough is enough. I’m done letting the situation win. Tonight, I’m not giving up until the Lord takes it from me, until I’m able to surrender the battle entirely. And that determination leads me to the story of Jacob in the book of Genesis.
“Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he could not defeat him, he struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. Then he said to Jacob, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ ‘What is your name?’ the man asked. ‘Jacob,’ he replied. ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob,’ he said. ‘It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he answered, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there.” — Genesis 32:24-29.
As I read and reread this scripture, I couldn't help but be drawn to the words spoken in verse 26. “Then he said to Jacob, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’”
Jacob had a lot of wrestling to do because of his past life as a deceiver and when day broke he could’ve easily given up and let go of the fight, but he refused to let go until God changed him.
That thought challenged me and I wondered, are we willing to hang on? Are we ready to fight through until something inside of us is changed? Or do we give up at daybreak only to face the same battle again and again?
I don't know about you, but I am tired of the tossing and turning, the battles raging inside my mind and heart, the situations never improving. I’m tired of revisiting the same fight night after night, day after day. I want change to happen in my circumstances. I want change to happen in my life, I want a blessing but to receive change and a blessing, I have to be willing to hang on to Jesus and not let go until change happens. We cannot give up at daybreak just because it's easier, we must hold on and not let go.
So what are you giving up on? What battle are you continually fighting? Maybe you're fighting an addiction to alcohol, shopping, food or drug addiction. Perhaps it’s an unending struggle with your spouse, or a battle with depression. Or maybe you’re fighting for the promises and dreams God’s put in your heart. I don’t know what you’re wrestling, but I know you can’t let go, not this close to a breakthrough, a blessing.
Friends, God wants to give you a new name, a new identity based off what he sees in you, not based on your issues, your past or your situation, but this requires you to wrestle until you receive what you are fighting for and what God has for you. Don’t give up.
Downs serves as a young adult/college leader at her church with her husband. She writes faith-based columns in southern Missouri newspapers.