October 14

Genesis 32:22-26

“Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.” vs. 24

The accounts of the patriarchs and matriarchs in Genesis are rich with literary allusions and masterful symbolism. Full of vivid detail they made for magnificent story-telling and helped to shape Jewish identity. Jacob, from whom Israel gets its name, was his mother’s favorite and a willing participant in a heart-breaking act of fraud and deceit. Forced to flee from a rightfully angry brother he spends years in exile with his mother’s family before deciding to return home and face his brother. The night before they are to meet is filled with a nightmarish encounter with a stranger and the two wrestle until daybreak. Some of us know what that feels like. We’ve spent those hours in our beds wrestling with our inner demons–maybe we too have lived on the edge of trickery and deceit–such memories never die. Facing an uncertain future, like Jacob we crave a blessing, some sign that we’ll be okay in our tomorrows. In the darkness, where every anxiety and fear is magnified, we dream and fitfully toss and turn, wondering what the dawn will bring. Those are tough nights–it’s hard to get rest when God has us in a half-nelson! But out of the struggle a blessing does emerge. The sun rises and we limp off into a new day of grace.

Thought for the Day: What happens on my sleepless nights?

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