Wrestling and Releasing

It is the darkest hour. Blackness creeps in from outside and grips me.  I thrash left and right, worrying my covers as “what-if”s and “could-be”s twist me.

I worry about my daughter, the one whose name means “God will provide”. I wrapped her life in that name, my arms wrapped around her for the first time. I wanted my beautiful girl to know that she could never be ripped from the arms that cradled her. Hands stronger than mine, holding, protecting, nourishing. The power of darkness can’t snatch anyone from the hands of the Light of the World.

Ten years passed. Night fell. The home broke. Hearts broke. I wrestled with all my might. His hands never loosened their grip. I struggled to understand. I twisted and raged against the night.  I feared for my children. I didn’t want them to cut themselves on the shards of their parents shattered marriage. My wise friend D, brown eyes brimming compassion, insisted that I loosen my grip. I couldn’t entrust them to Him yet contend at the same time that I knew better than He did. I wanted my three insulated from pain. How could a God who loved them let them suffer? Didn’t he promise to hold them? D said that I would have to release them to His care, even in that blackest night.

Ancient Jacob, alone in the night, wrestled with fear and mistrust of God. As news that his angry twin approached at the head of an army of four hundred vengeful men, Jacob threw God’s own words back at him, “O Lord who said to me, ‘return to your country and your kindred, that I may do you good…’” (Genesis 32:9, ESV) Hidden just under the surface, a confused “what were you thinking, God?” Jacob knew no way to wriggle his way out. He wrestled through the dark night, never letting go.

“There is no tighter embrace than the grip of the wrestle.”  Ann Voscamp

The day began to break but the struggling embrace between God and man didn’t.

Jacob limped into the red-hot glow of sunrise, broken, blessed, forever changed both in name and essence because he wrestled with God and refused to let go.

I wrestled and God refused to let me go. I eventually had to surrender. Loosen my grip on worry, and release my children’s well-being into His hands. Daybreak found me both broken and blessed by the wrestling of the night. It found my children still safe in the palm of His hand.

I remember now.

She’s grown beyond the reach of my cradling arms, but her name is the same. God provides for the young woman as he did for the baby, as he did for the girl.  I loosen my grip on the blankets and on the daughter. I limp into the dawn broken and blessed again. He will do the same for her, for all of my children. I trust that he will bless her, even if that blessing comes in the form of night wrestling and breaking pain. He loves my children just as he loves me.

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