music, wrestling, and transformational faith

Out of my comfort zone and into God's purpose

The joy and the privilege of wrestling with the message, and then sharing it with the world...

I have a lot of good stuff floating around my brain this morning. Ideas, directions, struggles, assurances, insights; thoughts about this practical, ongoing, study of faith we call “life.”

I already talked about singing in church in yesterday’s blog. But then a couple of my friends sent me some good photographs and I started to think about how my experience offers commentary vis-a-vis the way we go about the practice our faith.

WRESTLING: So I’m going to begin by sharing this Bible passage from Genesis 32, taken from the story about Jacob’s epic struggle with God. The struggle lasted his entire life, but the wrestling contest at Peniel helped define exactly what was going on.

A man came and fought with Jacob until just before daybreak. When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. They kept on wrestling until the man said,

  • “Let go of me! It’s almost daylight.
  • “You can’t go until you bless me,” Jacob replied.
  • Then the man asked, “What is your name?”
  • “Jacob,” he answered.
  • The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.”
  • Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”
  • “Don’t you know who I am?” he asked. And he blessed Jacob.

Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive.”

Playing "Empty and Beautiful" with Mark Prater at Palm Sunday services, First Presbyterian of Brandon

COMFORT ZONE: I love to play guitar. I also really enjoy singing. Doing them at the same time is OK, so long as I’m standing at the back of the band. Then there’s the up-front and in-the-spotlight kind of singing. Not so much my cup-of-tea.

However, not only did Mark (our music director) ask me to do this, but I also know that – if I put enough work into it – the experience can be a blessing for the entire church.

So I struggled… I wrestled with this song for a long time. I put in the legwork and, when the time came, I was ready to make my contribution.

I think the life of faith is a lot like this. God wants to inhabit our very being, to be invited into every nook and cranny of our existence. But sometimes the best way to immerse ourselves in something is to grapple with it… struggle with a purpose… roll around in the mud and get it all over us… wrestle all night long.

Then, when the time comes, we will be ready.


Categories: The Church, The Life That Truly is Life, The Life-Charged Life, The Story

Tags: , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Derek, I’m reading a lot of good feedback from those who are joining you for Lent. Thanks for your faithfulness is all things both large and small. God is teaching me to work from weakness. That way God can be my strength. Pressing on… Hos. 6:3


  2. Thanks, Bob.
    Posts from you carry a lot of weight with me.


  3. Hi, Derek. Wrestling with our problems is sometimes the only way of achieving growth, both physically and spiritually, so your analogy is quite apt, as usual. Life is a struggle, but the payoff can well be beyond our mere human comprehension. Even Jesus had to struggle with temptation after fasting and His humanity when He asked the Father to spare him from His passion and death “let this cup pass from me, but Thy will be done). Joy for this Easter and Peace and Blessings, Henry


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