GOD DRAINED HIM OF STRENGTH
And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. Genesis 32:24
Jacob is about to meet Esau. He thinks Esau will surely kill him and he’s afraid. Jacob sent everyone on ahead of him with gifts and he is alone for this long night of waiting. He has begged God for his life and reminded Him of his covenant blessings. But who can guess what God will do?
Of all nights, this was a night he needed sleep. Yet God comes to him in the form of a man and wrestles with him all night until he is absolutely spent. He is listless and exhausted from the hand-to-hand wrestling match. Though I have never wrestled with God in the flesh, I do know the deep weariness that comes from no sleep. It’s usually before an important event. When I’m about to speak to a significant group of people, I try to do everything right ahead of time. I aim to get plenty of rest, prepare myself spiritually, even go a day ahead to spend time in quiet and focus. I’m poised for a good night’s sleep yet, in spite of all the preparation, I usually sleep poorly or not at all. There are nights I feel like I wrestled in prayer. There are also nights I feel that there was a battle being waged over me. I wake up exhausted and depleted.
“Doesn’t God answer prayer?” you might ask. I used to wrestle with this question because belief in God’s goodness was at stake. No more. I am at peace though I still strain against the experience. Know this. God will drain His servant when the stakes are high because ‘when I am weak, He can show Himself strong.’ I must be emptied of all self-effort so that I do not strive with His Spirit when what I say and do really matters.
Someone today is facing one of the most important days of their lives. Could be a court date, an interview for a new job, a doctor’s appointment to strategize on future care. You haven’t slept well. You feel like you’ve been up all night and you can’t imagine how you will get through your day. Maybe you’re frustrated with God for your weakened condition. Don’t back up from him. This is the time to run home.
My advice. Throw all your cares upon Him. Ask Him to fill you with all that He is, to live through you, to make every word you speak — His words. Don’t battle with Him. You are too spent for that. And perhaps that is the point. God longs for us to know that He is our strength and never is that more true than when we have none of our own.
You are large in someone else’s eyes when I am small. Do not let me despise my smallness. Forgive me, Lord, for when I stand in the way of what You want to do through my weakness. Amen