Wrestling With God

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WHAAAT? “Wrestle” with God?

Yep. You might refer to it as grappling or struggling, but like me, you’ve probably confronted and questioned God at some point in your life. 2020 has been a year of wrestling with God for me, and perhaps for you too.  I’ve agonized over the suffering and deaths from COVID and the emotional toll this year has taken on many of my friends. I’ve hurt for those who have lost jobs and for businesses that had to shut down permanently. I’ve worried over the dilemma of schools being open or closed and wept over the violence and unrest in our nation. I’ve struggled with “why?” at least a hundred times as I pleaded and grappled with God for answers.

It brings me comfort to know that in the Old Testament of the Bible Jacob was alone and also wrestled with God (Genesis 3:22-30). During that “dark night of the soul,” Jacob discovered that he’d spent his life fighting God and resisting His will and that the only way to victory was through surrender.

I have learned from my friends who are perfectly content being alone and who enjoy solitude, to embrace my alone times. British essayist, Walter Landor once said that solitude is the “audience-chamber of God,” and he was right. When we’re alone, we can’t escape into other people’s lives to be distracted from a personal crisis or a pandemic. We have to live with ourselves and face ourselves.

When we’re alone and at the end of our resources, then God can come to us and do something in us and for us.

One of the things I cherish doing when I am alone is going deeper in studying God’s word. It has enriched my understanding and knowledge of the magnitude of our almighty God. I take time to dwell in the Old and the New Testament each morning, read two or three devotionals, and research backgrounds and stories of people in the Bible. I have surrendered wrestling with God about the things I cannot control, and started to pray more fervently about them. I have become comfortable with solitude rather than the clamor of the world.

I have come face to face with God in a deeper, more meaningful way.

It was not my choice to be alone and isolated this year, yet it was necessary with COVID for my well-being and for others. However, being a “people-person” at heart, it is my choice to stay connected with others. These are a few of my connection points…

•    Reaching out to encourage women who are single, divorced, or widowed, with a phone call or a text gets my mind off my issues and problems.

•    An offer to drop off something at the door to someone in need is always appreciated.

•    Calling family and long-time friends who I haven’t seen or talked to for a while closes the miles between us.

•    Leaving a voice message for someone who needs to hear a familiar voice can comfort a lonely heart.

•    Facetime or Zoom at least brings a friend and conversation into my home. Not the real thing, but it brings a sweet spot to my day. 

•    Before it got so hot here in Phoenix, I rode my bike through the neighborhood, waved my pom-poms, and honked my little horn to say hello. It brought a lot of smiles to my neighbors and brought me a lot of joy in return.

You are probably doing some of these things also. Reaching out to others is a choice you and I make and sometimes an effort to do. Make the choice, make the effort. You never know how the smallest gesture can make a difference in someone’s day.

For a country that has always had an abundance of choices, this has been a year of limitations for what we can do, where we can go, or who we can be with. I have learned much this year, about myself and about others. I decided early on that I was not going to lose, or waste, a whole year of my life because of COVID. Life is too precious. I didn’t want to look back one day and think I let a whole year slip simply because I couldn’t do the things I had planned, or because my routine and schedule was disrupted.

We are going into fall my friends, with a long, hot summer behind us. Four months are left in 2020. Four months to make any changes in your heart, your attitude, and your actions before we begin another year. Make the choice, make the effort. Life is precious. Seize the day, persevere through these tough times, pray more and try to worry less. And most of all, get to know Jesus all the more.

You never know how the choices you make will change your life.

From My Heart to Yours,

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Susan Miller