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Reality and perspective are generally two different concepts. When our reality becomes bigger than our perspective, we see change.

In our faith, there are 2 concepts of God. God beyond us and God with us. And we tend to gravitate toward one or the other. We use His nearness to avoid His power or holiness, and we use His transcendence to avoid the idea that He knows us intimately and walks with us.

If we don’t have a big God, we become the biggest person in our universe. Or we look to some other “big” person.

One of the reasons we’ve gotten so enamored with political leaders or entertainers to the point of religious idolatry is our innate attraction to something big to define ourselves by, especially when faced with uncertainty. When we feel uncertain, it means we feel small and instinctively look for something big.

Many “bigs” are beckoning us, but we need to look to the “right big.” Consider how we act on a first date or during an interview – we bring our A-game. There was something or someone beyond us that we aspired to.

This happens when we see God in the same way.

When we embrace a bigger reality of who God is, it will change who we are.

And if we don't view God that way or forget, we center back on ourselves and the circumstances around us. It’s an interesting dynamic. It’s not that there’s not a bigger picture that we can see. It’s that we stop seeing it or forget to look for it.

 Ephesians 1
18 “I pray that the eyes of your hearts would be enlightened, so that you would know the hope to which you are called.”

It doesn't say that our eyes are closed but that they're not seeing the right things. It's something out there already that we don't see or forget to look for. So, how do we encounter or re-encounter that bigger reality?

Not easily. We wrestle.

Genesis 32
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.

Jacob obviously has a lot on his mind. Have you ever just sent everyone away?

Genesis 32
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

Bad timing, right? Think of this as an athlete on the night before a big game. No sleep, weak, and injured. It’s like those stories about players who hurt themselves and get benched because they were doing something dumb the night before.

Remember the backstory – Jacob cheated his way into his first blessing. He’s determined not to let go, to enter the struggle and receive this one legitimately. Jacob is saying, “I’m not letting go until you change my reality.”

Some of us have a reality in our lives. We need to struggle with God and not let go – keep at it, keep pursuing, and keep struggling.

Life comes with hard circumstances, things that don’t have easy answers. There are physical struggles, financial problems, and tough relationships. Big questions that don’t have easy answers.

One of the lies we often believe about God is that we can’t struggle with him. There’s a way to struggle, but we need to struggle faithfully. To wrestle but not let go. We can wrestle, but with persistence. We see this throughout the bible. God rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Genesis 32
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

In this culture, your name was your identity. It spoke to your character, who you were as a person. “Jacob” meant “deceiver.” What part of your name (your story) do you wish was different?

Genesis 32
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel (struggles with God) because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

 To change a name was a huge deal in this ancient culture. It represented a change of identity. When we embrace a bigger reality of who God is, it will change who we are.

 Genesis 32
 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, (face of God) saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

So, Jacob heads out to his encounter with his brother and 400 men, physically exhausted and weaker than before. He has to trust God now. The story ends happily with Esau and Jacob reconciling.

Struggle increases the size of your perspective. Struggling with God increases the size of God’s reality in our lives.

And here’s how this comes home…

  1. Wrestling with God in faith begins with fear and ends with peace
  2. It makes us even more dependent on God – beyond ourselves
  3. It fundamentally changes our identity – Schemer to struggler, fear to faith, failure to overcomer

James Ryle said, “Healthy things grow. Growing things change. Changing things challenges us. Challenging things force us to trust God. Trust leads to obedience. Obedience makes us healthy.”

If we are healthy, we are growing.
If we are growing, we are changing.
If we are changing, we are being challenged.
When we are challenged, we wrestle with God.
When we wrestle with God, we learn how to trust Him.
As we learn how to trust Him, we learn how to follow Him.
As we follow Him, our reality gets bigger.

Where do you need to wrestle with God, trust, and follow?

Psalm 46
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

God of the schemer. God of the wrestler. God of the struggle.

When your reality becomes bigger than your perspective, that’s when you change, and things change.

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