June 28, 2024

What Does It Mean to Wrestle with God?

The devil doesn’t always tempt us with things that are obviously evil—sometimes he tempts us with comfort.

In this episode, Jamie and Heather talk about what it means to wrestle with God, dealing with discomfort, and the power of community.

Check it Out:

In seasons of disappointment, it’s natural to ask “why.” In fact, being bold enough to ask this question can be the start of wrestling out disappointment, grief, pain, and even anger with God.

It’s easy in these difficult seasons to dismiss our feelings or make compromises to maintain a semblance of faith without fully engaging with God. We want to have enough God to stay in our relationship but don’t want to give everything to him.

The Cost of Surrender

When things get stressful, we often turn to comfort as a way to cope. These coping habits could be as little as taking a nap to avoid negative feelings or as extreme as an addiction to substances—even if our go-to coping strategies aren’t an obviously sinful, they’re a way to avoid dealing with the root of our issues.

The things the devil offers aren’t always “bad,” but they aren’t what’s best for us. Wrestling with God involves not compromising in moments of discomfort. It means taking your whole self to the Lord and saying, “I don’t know if I can trust you, but I’m going to dig into your word and community until I know if you’re trustworthy or not.”

But truly surrendering to God often costs us the habits that allow us to retreat from the gravity of our emotions and problems. Instead, we must bring it all to the Lord, allowing Him to talk to us about our struggles and guide us through them.

Surrender may be costly, but the the cost of not surrendering is even higher: The more you ignore God’s voice, the less you will hear it, dulling your sensitivity to His guidance

What does wrestling with God look like scripturally?

Sometimes, it takes something drastic to shake us up and make us intimately deal with God and ourselves. We see plenty of examples of this in Scripture.

Examples in Scripture

Jacob Wrestles with God (Genesis 32:22-32)

    • In Genesis, Jacob wrestles with a mysterious man (revealed to be God) all night. As a result of the struggle, Jacob is blessed and given the name Israel, which means “he struggles with God.” This story symbolizes the struggle for blessing and identity, showing how wrestling with God can lead to transformation and a deeper relationship with Him.

Job Suffers (Book of Job)

      • Job experiences immense suffering and loss. He questions God and wrestles with the reasons behind his suffering. Through his dialogue with friends and his direct questioning of God, Job seeks understanding. Job’s story illustrates the struggle to understand God’s will and the nature of suffering, emphasizing faith and trust in God’s wisdom even when answers are not clear.

David’s Lament (Various Psalms):

    • Throughout the Psalms, David expresses his struggles, fears, doubts, and questions to God. He often moves from lament to trust and praise. David’s psalms highlight the emotional and spiritual wrestling that is part of a deep relationship with God, showing that it is okay to bring our raw emotions to Him.

Who knows your story, your secrets, your struggles?

Your life doesn’t have to be public, but it shouldn’t be secret either. Sharing your struggles with a trusted, godly community is a vital part of the wrestling process that brings healing and growth.

Keeping our struggles entirely to ourselves can lead to isolation and a sense of overwhelming burden. We are not strong enough in and of ourselves to navigate life’s challenges alone. God created us for community, and it’s within this community that we find strength, support, and encouragement.

Embrace Discomfort

Start somewhere. Even the smallest step is better than nothing; call a friend, turn on a sermon, or ask someone if you can call them every time you feel the urge to turn to comfort rather than deal with difficult feelings and situations.

Take some time in silence and stillness. Ask the Lord, “What do you want to tell me?”

Wrestling with God is uncomfortable, and Satan will offer you comfort. He’ll tell you, “This is the easy way.” But don’t be too quick to tap out—God will not break you beyond repair. Everything He does is for your wellbeing.

God is so merciful and gracious. Just take the first step in build up the skills to talk about what’s really going on and keep wrestling.


Show Notes:

In this episode, they mention a message from our series on Ruth. Check it out here: Ruth: Faithfully Following God in the Face of Loss

They also mention the book Jesus the King by Timothy Keller


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