Wrestling with God – Genesis 32: 22-31 – a hymn

Genesis 32: 22-31 Tells the story of an enigmatic stranger wresting with Jacob by a brook called The Jabbok. It is a story of crisis and decision, of Jacob a meeting with God, finding his vocation. Charles Wesley told the story in the hymn ‘Come, O thou traveller unknown’. It runs to 12 verses! You may not have sung it in its entirety.

This hymn is somewhat shorter…

1          Wrestling stranger met with Jacob,
            struggled onward till the morn,
            struggled by the brook of Jabbok,
            heralding a different dawn.
2          Jacob met the task with courage,
            and it seemed he would prevail,
            but the stronger, wrestling stranger,
            made him limp, God could not fail.
3          What the struggle? Why the wrestling?
            Was it real or human doubt?
            Jacob gained self realization,
            how he’d work his purpose out.
4          Nameless God now blessing Jacob,
            Israel went on from that place,
            Holy ground, for this was special,
            here he’d met God face to face.

Andrew Pratt (born 1948)

Words © 2011 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd
Metre: 8 7 8 7. Tune: ALL FOR JESUS

This is the time of crisis

Things we know are never wholly certain,
we fathom and explore,
we test the tangled evidence
while seeking to decide.

This is the time of crisis,
of decision,
a time for making choices.

Life sometimes stutters,
moving on in stages.
At others it seems seldom interrupted.
Day to day passes without incident.

Then the cancer, infarction,
crippling us with indecision.

Death is inevitable since our birth.
But should we, as the poet wrote,
‘strive against the dying of the light’?
Or, windhover like, roll, riding on the steady air,
swing in mastery of this fluid existence?

Broken pinioned we may plummet,
God forbid.

But is it worth the struggle?
To claw heavenward,
perhaps survive,
at what present cost?

And all that now determines action will sound ephemeral,
of little consequence.

Such impulses drive the decisions we will make,
for life or death,
in love or grace.

© Andrew Pratt 30/11/2018