The Art of Wrestling with God

Above my desk hangs an art print I bought a couple years ago. It’s an artist’s reflection on the biblical story in which Jacob wrestles with God (Genesis 32).

The background brushstrokes evoke a darkness come suddenly alive with struggle. Black merges with purples and blues. Brushstrokes moving too quickly to stop at a defined edge violate the boundaries of the scene.

Jacob is depicted in rough cerulean blue strokes, more frantic shadow than solid form. He’s fighting for his life, fighting with a God he knows and hardly begins to know. From the epicenter of the wrestling match, fragments of butterfly wing tear through the sky like shrapnel, shrieking the painful hymn of transformation.

In the lower right, the artist has inscribed Jacob’s name with black ink in Hebrew characters. Over to the left, just above the heads of the wrestling figures, he has penned the name Israel in gold. These Hebrew characters are smaller than the previous ones, still distant—still more potential than actual. But they contain a light that demands the viewer’s attention.

This new name, this new identity, this new life is what is at stake here in the darkness.


The stakes are high for me, too, just as they were for Jacob, just as they were for all the other God-wrestlers in the Bible.

God has been wrestling with mankind for millennia. But He takes us on one by one, with vast and impressive skills. The best wrestlers vary their approach based on their opponent. And make no mistake, God is the best of the best…

Read the rest over at the Flatirons Women’s Community, where I’m blogging today: Wrestling

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