Solo Study before Your LifeGroup
Genesis 32: 22-32
The nineties were a magical time to be alive.
Amazing music, movies, TV Shows and one of my favorite things: WWF Wrestling. It was an amazing time to be a wrestling fan.
You had all the greats: Jake the Snake, Roddy Piper, The Ultimate Warrior, Andre the Giant, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Macho Man Randy Savage and my personal favorite, Hulk Hogan.
I could not get enough of it. I would pretend to play WWF Wrestling so I could be the legendary Hulk Hogan. I would do all of his moves, play with the action figures and play “WWF Royal Rumble” on Super Nintendo. I absolutely loved it.
I still hold a little bit of a grudge against one of my childhood friends who was able to go to a Wrestling Event one year and I could not...maybe you should pray for me...but that’s besides the point.
You see, I loved watching wrestling so much that one year Santa brought me a Hulk Hogan Wrestling Buddy. It was EPIC!
We wrestled forever and there was nothing that this Hulk Hogan Buddy could do to stop me. I felt invincible. Come to think of it, I feel kind of bad for all of the countless beatdowns this poor Wrestling Buddy encountered at the fists and feet of my prime 7 year old physique.
Now there are times where we are in prime physique where we are attacking our own personal “Hulk Hogan Wrestling Buddy.”
We feel powerful, unstoppable, worthy, superior and like a Heavy Weight Champion! We feel VICTORIOUS!
The amazing thing is that THAT is who God says we are in Him (even though you may not want to be referred as heavy weight...it’s a good thing in this context).
However, there are FAR too many times in our life where we feel like that beaten and banged up Hulk Hogan Wrestling Buddy.
We feel like life has ran us back into the turnbuckle only to suplex us and pin us in defeat.
Maybe you’ve been feeling just like Jacob where you have been wrestling with God.
Maybe today you feel like after a certain wrestling match or “season” that you have been knee deep in for a certain amount of time that you are left with a limp; a constant reminder of a past hurt or experience.
You see there are two ways to walk away from a wrestling match. You either walk out as the “Winner” or the “Loser.”
In both results, you walk away different. Things are never be the same.
It is in those times of remembering our wounds of those “matches” (which may include past struggles and pains) where we realize that the only way to go is up regardless if it’s a victory or as something we would classify as a defeat.
After Jacob’s wrestling match with God, things were never the same. He not only walked away from his Heavyweight Championship match with a limp, but his name was changed. His identity was changed. Israel's (Jacob) life was never the same.
God used limping Jacob for things that would not be possible without the intervention of the power and presence of God.
But even through it all, Jacob chose to worship.
Worship is not only about singing songs or praying prayers when we are happy and we feel as if we are winning the match called life.
Worship is a response. It is a response to what God has done, is currently dong, will do or what you are believing in Him to do in your life.
Sometimes literally worshipping the Lord requires a sacrifice on our part. The sacrifice is CHOOSING to worship, even when we may not feel like it.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28, ESV
So I do not know where you are in your wrestling match. I am not sure what is going on in your life.
But I do know this, that God is good in ALL things! That God is for you and He will never leave you or forsake you! (Deut. 31:6)
When I am afraid I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
(Psalm 56: 3-4, ESV)
The posture of our hearts and our lives must be one of worship.
That we glorify, ascribe and provide worth to the God who loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us (John 3:16).
I want to encourage you to not base your worship solely on when times are good but even in the valleys and dry seasons of our lives.
It is in those moments that we REMEMBER how good our God truly is. Then, when God shows up and does what only He can do, we are never the same.
Follow Up Questions
What is your response to what you just read, intellectually and emotionally?
What part of the story of Jacob best resonates with you?
How do you respond to this following quote: “When I worship, I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without heart.” (Lamar Boschman)?
What about your heart is so important in worship?
If you were a cardiologist, how would diagnose your heart in this very moment? Healthy? Hurting? Healing? Broken?