Today we heard the story of how Jacob wrestled with an Angel. At one point, he asks the Angel his name, to which came the response “Why is it that you ask my name?” But he didn’t get an answer. Instead, Jacob was blessed. In other words, he won the battle and his life was spared. In fact, Jacob even names the place Peniel, which means “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
Pastor Mike drew parallels to the struggles we all have in life. It doesn’t really matter what the battle is – we all have our “bad” – we all have our issues. For me, it’s been addiction. For others, it’s depression, or financial bankruptcy. But, in reality, it doesn’t matter what the problem is. That’s why Jacob doesn’t get an answer to his question – the Angel’s name didn’t matter. The battle itself didn’t matter. What matters is how we face our struggles. Do we face them with hope and determination? If so, then like Jacob, we are blessed.
When it comes to my recovery, the battle with the Angel analogy plays out a little differently for me. I find my victory and peace by surrendering my will each day — not by some show of force or strength. But the connection for me in the story was more about the commonality in our battles – the “namelessness of it all.” Like they say in the rooms, look for the similarities not the differences. I am not better than or worse than. I am special, I’m just not unique. I am right sized. We all have our battles to fight. In that I find comfort and connection and support.
I also reflect upon my own journey where there were moments of utter despair and hopelessness where life didn’t seem worth living. Thoughts of suicide played out in my mind. The day I hit bottom and entered treatment, I had even come close to taking my own life — the closest I had ever come in my mind to carrying out a plan. But in a moment of hope, I found the strength to make a different choice. I chose life.
And I was blessed.
“It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
- Blessings of Brokenness (bethusminded.wordpress.com)