Saturday, June 18, 2005

Wrestling for a Blessing Part 2

The truth is, we wrestle all the time with day to day life things. How do we keep from flipping the bird at someone who cut us off in traffic on the way to work? We want to be calmer, but somehow this rage boils over from deep within us. We try to live healthier. Yet the latest reality show looks infinitely more interesting than exercise, and a hamburger and French fries at McDonalds looks much better than the more wholesome meal that you know you should prepare at home. We spend our days in a wrestling match wanting to do what we want when we want to, and wanting to do the right thing too. We struggle with sexual temptation, whether it be with the internet, a romance novel, or the person we meet at work, at school or living across the street. We struggle with greed and always wanting more things than what we have. We struggle with managing our time to make time for the things that are most important to God and to us. We want the blessing, but we want things our way too. So, we struggle and we wrestle with our desire to sin, and our desire to live our day to day moments for Jesus.

We not only wrestle with the day to day stuff, we wrestle with the “big issues” in our lives. Infact, I think nearly all of us wrestle with God in one sense or another. A loved one dies, and we wonder why. And we wrestle with God. Struggling with him trying to understand. We come to church, and we have expectations about how church is supposed to be. And instead of always finding love and support we find hurt, judgment, and betrayal as well. And we find that the church is as much in need of salvation and redemption as we are. And we wonder what faith is really all about. And grab on to that hurt, and we struggle with God, and we WRESTLE. Or we go to work, and we try and do the right thing, but it seems that doing the right thing hurts us more than it helps us. Once again we wrestle. We struggle. We look for answers. We wonder where our blessing is. Just like Jacob.

Where is my blessing you may be asking? Where is my blessing? But even more than that, for those of us today maybe we need to be asking WHAT IS MY BLESSING? WHAT IS MY BLESSING?

Let me explain. Let me explain by taking a look at Biblical history.

Some of us, including some of those of the family of faith in Scripture, look at blessings as simply material blessing. Those that are blessed are those that have been able to accumulate a reputation, been able to accumulate power, and been able to accumulate resources. This view was prominent in Old Testament times. Especially with certain interpretations in the book of Dueteronomy. If you are blessed life will be easier, if you are cursed LIFE STINKS. We also see this philosophy is Christian thought from time to time, whether it is with a Calvinist Protestant Work Ethic theology, or a Wesleyan name it and claim it if you just have enough faith idea.

I think this view dominates the beginning of Jacob’s life. He things if he just gets the birthright, if he just gets the blessing, if he just marries the right woman, if he just does the right thing on the job he will be blessed. And to a certain extent God does bless him. He has lots of kids, lots of goats and sheep. Yet, strange things keep happening to him. He gets one more wife than he bargained for, he runs away from home, he is estranged from his father, his brother, his uncle, and most of his cousins. Except for the cousins he married (another Biblical example of someone who picks up chicks at a family reunion). His family wives and children are constantly bickering with one another. And he wonders, WHERE IS MY BLESSING? This doesn’t seem like much of a blessing to me!

I think we have all felt this way to a certain extent. If this happens than I will know I am doing the right thing. If that happens than I will know that God loves me or approves of me. And then we get to the point where we thought everything would be ok, and we realize that life is bigger than we thought it was, that what we thought was the blessing wasn’t really the blessing in the first place. That what we thought we were doing with God, we were not. Infact, we just left God behind and went on our merry way. In fact, we were running ahead of God and his will, ahead of God and his blessing, and we feel frustrated, incomplete, or alone. Just like Jacob.

Others of us come to the idea of a blessing as more of a feeling or a power that is upon us. This has many forms.

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