“But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue with God.”
Those of you who know me know that I LOVE to read. I was browsing at a Halfprice Bookstore the other day, and came across a book which was titled: Your Arms are too Short to Box with God. I walked away from the book, but the title kept coming back to me. It’s so clever, and so true!
Have you ever wanted to box with God? When your prayers are going unanswered and you feel trapped in the web of circumstances that you’re in, it’s natural to feel the way that Job felt. “If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments” (Job 23:3-4).
I like to add supplemental notes for God after I pray sometimes. I’m really good at supplemental notes. They go like this. “God. Hey. Thanks for the great meeting today! I may have forgotten to mention how I’d like You to hurry. Also, I’m a little worried that You’re not covering all the bases. Are You sure You know what You’re doing with this situation in my life? It’s pretty important that we get it figured out soon. And I kind of need to know what You’re up to all the time because I like to control the universe and I’d like to take that little job off Your hands.” Sometimes my supplemental notes are more frustrated, sometimes they are downright angry. As I’ve grown closer to the Lord over the years, one of the most wonderful things that I’ve found out about God is that He can handle our intense feelings…whatever they are.
So Jacob was alone, and a man came and wrestled with him until the sun came up. When the man saw he could not defeat Jacob, he struck Jacob’s hip and put it out of joint.
Jacob was a master manipulator and was used to getting his own way by scheming; He lied, cheated and stole his way to the top. Isn’t it fascinating that in spite of all that, God used him in a mighty way? Jacob was usually able to force his way and get whatever he wanted, but this night, at the river of Jabbok, he met his match (Gen 32:14-32). It wasn’t that God was unable to beat Jacob, but one of the most awesome characteristics of God is that He allows us to grapple with Him.
Here we see that Jacob wrestled with God and that God disjointed Jacob’s hip, and made him weak. God was showing Jacob that He was all powerful, and that He could not be manipulated by Jacob’s usual schemes.
Maybe you’re thinking that you’re nothing like Jacob, and that the things that you’re complaining about are things that you don’t deserve because you’re a good Christian.
Remember Job? The Bible testifies that he was a righteous man who was upright and obedient before God. We see that even when his wealth, family and health were inexplicably taken away from him, Job did not sin (how he managed not to sin in the middle of his misery is something that I can’t comprehend). But we see in the book of Job that he did question, he did desire to argue with God. He did challenge God’s wisdom and ways in his situation. And God allowed that.
I should tell you that I have a long, interesting history with God and his faithfulness. In all the years I’ve known Him, He has never, ever overlooked me. Even when I‘ve lashed out at Him in frustration and bitterness, He has always loved me better than anyone else. I am grateful for a God that allows me to struggle with Him. I am realizing as I’m in the midst of my own whirlwind that like so many men and women of faith that in my flesh I want to box with God, and am reminded of His immovable sovereignty.
The fact is, your arms (and mine) ARE too short to box with God. But God desires a real relationship with us, and He can handle our questions. He can handle our accusations, and He can handle our anger towards Him. What we find when we are real with God is that He is a loving and caring Father who allows His children to grow through the process of asking questions. Instead of striking us down for being impudent, He changes our perspective and builds up our faith.