Jacob wrestles with God in Genesis 32. Jacob was desperate. God had told him to go in a certain direction and it seemed to him like certain death and loss to do so. He had obeyed and now, it was the night before he was to die, he thought. But God appeared to him and he held Him tight until God saw he couldn’t win the wrestling contest and so He permanently weakened him. However Jacob still held on and would not let Him go.
Many years ago Charles Wesley, similarly reliving the experience of the war of the flesh against the spirit, wrote a wonderful hymn that captures the whole process in emotive, experiential detail. The next time you are striving with sin that seems to be the very essence of who you are maybe you also will find this hymn helpful.
As it turned out Jacob didn’t die. But he never did walk the same way again. This event was the pivotal point in a process that changed him from a schemer to a prince.