When my husband and I took our Judaism class, they kicked off the first session by looking at Jacob (son of Isaac, son of Abraham) who is one of the patriarchs of Judaism. Abraham is deemed "the first Jew" but it is his grandson Jacob who gains the name Israel and from him that we get the Old Testament's nation of Israel.
The rabbi pointed us to the part in Jacob's story where he is on a journey and is left alone at a riverbed, when a man comes and begins to wrestle with him. They wrestle until morning and the man cannot defeat Jacob. The man goes to leave but Jacob says, "I will let you go if you will bless me." It is there that the man—who we learn is actually God—blesses Jacob and changes his name from Jacob to Israel, which literally means "he wrestles with God."
This story, the rabbi explained, is a testament to how wrestling with God—sorting him out, learning to trust him, working through your questions and hardships about who he really is—is fundamental to the Jewish faith. There is no expectation that you will not struggle, but that through struggling you will see God face to face and be saved and blessed as Jacob was.
For me, there are times when I'm reading the Bible and I wonder, How do I know this is true? Why do I believe in this? How do I know that I'm not wasting my life on this faith? It's during those times, that I start to turn back the pages on my own journey, I start looking back at all the places where I can clearly see God parted the seas to deliver me, where he went ahead of me and prepared the impossible to come to pass.
I remember how much my life has changed and how it is richer—in so many more ways than that word implies—now than it has ever been. I look at my own heart and can see the beauty that has been planted into it and how it continues to be cultivated by his grace, pulling out the weeds that have festered there for too long.
It's that remembering, peering back and reminding myself of God's goodness in the past—and his promises for the future—that reassures me of the path I'm on. The wrestling, the squirming calms and I finally come to rest back in his arms, trust and faith renewed again.
Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."
Feel free to read more at her blog, Life Blessons.
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About Carmen at Life Blessons
Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twenty-something woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons." Feel free to read more at her blog, Life Blessons.
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