Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wrestling with God

"Can I get a driving license, please?" she pleads.

Sigh. Sign of the times. My daughter is growing up. I hesitate to say 'no' because I understand the tremendous peer pressure she goes through during this delightful stage of her life. I procrastinate in saying 'yes' because of the uncertainty I have about her ability to handle the added responsibility of driving. Give and take another 2 years, I think to myself, even as I hover between the two choices. Each choice has their share of advantages and disadvantages. 'Maybe' has an expiry limit that wears away the patience of my teenage girl. Let her wrestle with waiting while I wrestle with God.

This week, I came across a touching book written by Mary Beth Chapman, wife of the famous Christian song-writer, Steven Curtis Chapman. She describes how her adopted daughter Maria was accidentally killed by her own biological son. The teenager drove a car into the 5-year old girl. It is a double-whammy for Mary Beth. Her son killed someone. That someone is her own daughter.

Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and HopeIn an interview with a provocative title, (Mary Beth Chapman vs God) with ChristianityToday, Mary Beth shares her inner thoughts about the book, "Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope." Letting go of her daughter is hard, and that causes her a long journey of struggling and wrestling with God. It is strange that as the President of the organization "Show Hope," she herself struggles with finding hope. How can she show others hope when she cannot seem to find hope at all?

I must say that is a tough situation to be in. Using Jacob as a guide, Mary Beth identifies with this biblical character, together with others like Job, David and Paul. Indeed, when one is searching for hope, no stones are left unturned. Bring them on, bible characters. Bring them on!

My Comments
I like the title of the book, which demonstrates boldness and courage in a mood of depression and darkness. It is so easy to let ourselves linger in hopelessness during times like these. Yet, the Chapmans show us that life is very much a choice. We need not be victimized by circumstances. We need not moan in our powerlessness. We can make a conscious decision to see.

I suppose each of us will have to wrestle with God during moments of heartache and despair. It is a part of life. Somehow, it is only during moments of tragedy or extreme difficulty we become true wrestlers with our feelings and with God. We argue. We debate. We fight. We rebel. At the end of it all, God lets us fight him with all the emotions in our fallible arsenal. Like Jacob, He allows us to advance as we hurl accusations at Him. Up to a certain point. At that point, when God deems us ready, He will touch our 'socket' at our hip.

We do our spiritual wrestling in prayer. In prayer we seek God. In prayer we ask Him for answers and for relief. In prayer, we wrestle with words, with sweat and with utter honesty. If only God will bless us again. If only He will give us an inch. Perhaps, at the end of the wrestling, as we bathe in the grace of God afresh, we will start to marvel at how gracious God is. Then we will shudder and pull back in shock.

"I have wrestled with the living God, and my life was spared."

There is a time to wrestle. There is a time to grief. There is a time to battle. There is a time to pull back. At the end of it all, we will realize that God is in our wrestling, in our grieving, in our battling and in our retreating. God is in the midst of our wrestling. You can be sure about that.

Meanwhile, I wrestle with my daughter's request.



tim said...

thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights...
A healthy choice is sometimes hard to come by. A shift in mindset.. a Christlike mind... a mind that is quieten by His spirit. What do we need from the Lord for us to make that shift to choose to follow God's way and not dwell or get stucked with our own negative thinking patterns.

YAPdates said...

thank you for your comment.

i concur with you about not getting "stuck" in negative thinking. at the same time, we too cannot be "stuck" in overly positive thinking that undermines the wrestling moment. this is when discernment and wisdom comes from the Lord. The comforting thought is that God STICKS with us.


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