Genesis 32:22-31 (NRSV)
Verse 22The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. Verse 23He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had.
Verse 24Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. Verse 25When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Verse 26Then he said, "Let me go, for the day is breaking." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." Verse 27So he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." Verse 28Then the man said, "You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed." Verse 29Then Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him. Verse 30So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved." Verse 31The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
This week's scripture readings address persistence. Have you persistently wrestled with God through nights full of concerns about employment, illness, relationships, etc.? I have those restless, wrestling nights followed by daybreaks that include my "out of joint" attitude. Be assured, God persists with us throughout these struggles. A life of faith includes striving with God and humans.
Humans wrestle over broken relationships. For example, today we recognize that Columbus was a transatlantic explorer. However, we know Indigenous Peoples (Native Americans) lived in the lands long before Columbus arrived. Often, exploration led to conquests and domination by colonizers from other countries. Consequently, now we are wrestling with these broken relationships, confronting persistent sins against our human family members, and struggling through times of strife. In faith, we strive with God. God persists with us in our wrestling. God strives to guide us into reconciliation and a new day breaking with justice for all.
Persistent God, help us feel your loving presence as we wrestle through concern-laden nights. Enlighten us in the ways we can reconcile with all of your children and persistently struggle together to provide justice for everyone. Amen.