We read the story of Jacob wrestling with God at the Well. Jacob was wrestling with fear of losing everything to Esau – all of his family and his goods, even his life. God wrestled with God all night long – and in the morning was blessed with an answer – he saw the light. In the story of Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye constantly wrestled with God as he struggled to hang on to his place – his world that was changing in spite of his efforts. In the Garden, Jesus wrestled with God in the Desert for 40 days and nights; he wrestled again with God in the Garden as he was anticipating his coming arrest, trial and crucifixion. Wrestling with God is something that we all do in moments of great stress or anxiety. We wrestle with God in recognizing our fears of that we encounter on our common journey of life – a journey filled with the unknown, with the fear of death and the fear of letting go. We, like Tevye want to hang on to that which we are most comfortable with; with the world of our own creation.
But it is letting go, that we find peace – find life. To let go and to let God! To let go of our illusions of being in charge. We like to think at times, that we know all of the answers, are all powerful and wise. If everyone would just listen to me, then everything would be fine. We forget sometimes that we are part of a world unfolding – still in process. And at other times, we just give up and walk away. We are afraid of losing, so we quit the match and declare ourselves a winner and presume that we know better than God. At other times, we quit and just give up – considering ourselves a loser – and are filled with bitterness, depression, anger, or emptiness. We forget at times that the important thing is not in the winning or losing, but in the process itself – of engaging in the battle until the light dawns and we begin to understand; we can see dimly, as through sunglasses, but in time we begin to see clearly.
We are called into the journey, the Viatorian Way, to engage in life and all that life brings, knowing that God walks with us and to allow God to lead; to let go! And in the letting go, we encounter the Resurrection to new life. Light conquers darkness and life conquers death. This is the Journey of Moses, leading the people to freedom for 40 years and never seeing the end result. It is also the journey of Jesus, on the way to Jerusalem, wrestling with God for 40 days and nights in the desert – alone and in the dark. This is the time of Lent – 40 days of walking the journey together, wrestling with God and the choice of life or death; light or darkness.