It is true that in this world we will have tribulations and yet we are to not lose our joy or our hope (we are to be of good cheer!). Part of the call on my life is to be an encourager to the people of God, therefore when personal tribulations come, I must wrestle down what is “real on earth” by focusing on what is “real in heaven”.
Two-and-a-half years ago a tribulation was forced into my life and body when my husband, my son, and I were in a head-on collision during an ice storm. Since that moment physical pain has been my constant companion (not my friend but an ever-present companion). It’s not a companion that I’d choose or even one that I accept; yet still it persists. Each day it greets me with its unwelcome demands, and it wakes me throughout the night hours to remind me that it’s still here. This writing is not meant to be about “my tribulation” but rather about the very real wrestle we have to face in a world that is filled with tribulations.
The wrestle is real and yet we know that the victory has already been won. We must daily take every thought captive, because tribulations come with a narrative that will try to overcome the truth that is our hope—the truth that Jesus has overcome the world. There are seasons that come to every believer where we must wrestle down our souls in order to lay hold of His blessing.
His peace is my companion of choice. Though physical pain has forced its way into my life, I choose to take the hand of my Prince of Peace and allow His peace to guard my heart and mind through this time of tribulation. I have found that there truly is “transcending power” that flows when peace becomes my prevailing reality. It is the gateway for joy, wonder, beauty, hope, and faith to enter through. As I lay hold of peace, pain must bow down and silence the voice that mocks faith and truth.
Still…the wrestle is real.
“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
No matter what your personal tribulation is, there is strength and peace found in the Lord. When Jacob wrestled with God, he was wrestling down the overwhelming fear and anxiety that had gripped his soul. Behind him was fear (the mistreatment from his father-in-law that he fled from) and before him was fear (his brother, Esau and his vast army). Jacob had been given a promise from God that he could return to the land of his father, the land where his brother Esau lived, and he would be shown kindness. But his life was controlled by the driving fears that had followed him. That long, dark night he wrestled until the promise and blessing of God prevailed, changing his name and overcoming the false identity.
Frederick Buechner, a Christian author, describes Jacob’s wrestle as the “magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God.” The wrestle is real. We all have our dark night where we wrestle down the fears and anxieties of the soul that seeks to define our path and identify our lives by the weaknesses of our souls. But God has a greater truth that redefines our paths with kindness and renames us with His victory. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel which means, “May God Prevail.”
Peace will usher you into the surrender of your true identity and path. Though you have wrestled against the fears of your soul to gain the promise of God, the Lord will prevail. He will prevail for you as you allow His promise of blessings to be the dawn of your new day. The dark night of fear gives way to the promise of His blessings and kindness.
“I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalms 30:1-5
Many have faced a night of wrestling, a night of weeping…BUT JOY COMES IN THE MORNING! The dawn is breaking and the new morning is announcing your new name. Your life will forever be marked by God’s prevailing promise. His kindness lies before you and all that is behind you has come to a close.
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