How can anyone wrestle with God and win? It reminds me of when my son, Daniel, was a little boy. I used to wrestle with him, and he would win every match.
This seems to be how God does it with us. He lets us win, but not the way we want to win. After wrestling with God, Jacob was not the same. He became a cripple; from then on he walked with a limp. But he won that night because he admitted who he was—Jacob, meaning schemer and deceiver—and finally let God break him.
Once a friend of mine called from overseas, dealing with a situation in which he was trying to work things out with his own planning and scheming, not realizing God was trying to break him. Troubled by a situation in which he was being taken advantage of, my friend, according to the law, could rightfully press charges and bring justice to his situation.
When I heard him leaning toward this route, my response was one of shock. “I am surprised that you would even think those thoughts!” I said. “Your safety is not in any of these things. It is in the Lord. Why must you fight for your rights? The Bible says when the Levites’ rights were taken away, their properties were taken away, their houses were taken away, and their lands were taken away, they gave it up gladly and never went after it. That is the way you should be following.”
This is a modern-day example of how we can delay the Lord’s work of brokenness in our lives by our own planning and scheming. Thank God my friend saw this to be the correct response and used this situation as an opportunity to walk in humility and let the Lord be his defender.
In each of our lives, the Lord brings us Labans and difficult circumstances—either financial setbacks, failures, sickness, and so on—to break us. Through these things, God is continually trying to break us—not to destroy us, but to bless us. Only after the cross comes the resurrection. Only after the cross comes glory.