November 4, 2022

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

As you ‘wrestle’ with life’s challenges, allow God to lead you

Richard EtienneHave you ever struggled for hours, days or longer pondering a difficult decision? Have you done this often?

There is a wonderful passage in chapter 32 of the Book of Genesis where Jacob “wrestles” with a man through an entire night.

In the course of the struggle, he learns that it is actually an angel—a messenger of God. And while wrestling, Jacob is injured.

Finally, as dawn approaches, the angel seeks to be released. Jacob asks for a blessing before he agrees to release him. The angel finally blesses Jacob, but not until Jacob’s hip socket is wounded during a struggle.

As we reflect on this passage, we understand that Jacob is struggling with a major issue, which leads to a sleepless night. And in the process of this struggle, he is wounded.

Many of life’s choices are difficult and often take a toll on us, be it mentally or physically—or both.

Are your deepest scars physical or emotional? Was there a serious struggle that led to your being hurt? If the wound was emotional, is the pain still easily accessed when you reflect?

We learn that, despite the challenges he faced, Jacob is blessed in his endeavors. Could there be a reward for us if we persist and “wrestle” through our challenges?

As we discern the next steps on our journey of faith, we must realize they may not come without a struggle.

Sometimes the reward is clarity and seeing a resolution regarding a next step in living out our vocation.

Close your eyes and ponder: what is or are your current struggles? Are you asking God to help in your discernment? What blessing or blessings could come from your grappling or wrestling with the situation?

As you continue your discernment, allow God to lead you to where you need to go.

(Richard Etienne has a degree in theology from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and resides in Newburgh, Ind.)

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