Sometimes, when a child insists they are capable of a task that is clearly beyond their ability, a parent will allow their child to try anyway. Sometimes. I'll never forget the time my 2 year old son hopped in the drivers seat of my Jeep and said, "I drive." That was not one of those times!
Not too long ago, two of my children insisted they were responsible enough to bring a favorite toy along to the Rec Center. I like to think I know my kids pretty well. I was confident that when it was time to go, those two would begin to panic as they realized they had no idea where they had left those favorite toys... But we let them try anyway. Sure enough, a little over an hour later, a frenzied panic ensued.
It's no shock that children crave to be in control. And I suppose the reason it's no shock has to do with our own desire to be in control. Our desire to be in control is not exactly one of those traits that we easily shake as we grow up. But it can be shaken.
Jacob is a good example of this. For much of his life, he tried to fulfill God's promises himself. God said he would receive the birthright from his father Isaac. The Savior promised to his grandfather Abraham was to come from one of Jacob's descendants. But when it seemed as though Jacob's brother Esau was about to receive this blessing, Jacob took matters into his own hands and tricked his old, blind father into thinking he was Esau. Jacob was so well known for his deception that his name became synonymous with "deceiver."
That was until God changed his name to reflect an even greater change that had taken place inside of Jacob. "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." (Genesis 32:28) Jacob was beginning to understand who God is and what he's like. And that understanding was changing how Jacob approached challenges in his life.
Like Jacob, we can try to control the world around us all we want. But like a child figuring out they can't drive a car or even take care of their most precious stuff, at some point we're going to realize our inability to control our lives. If you're there or know someone who is, it's time to get to know who your God is and what he's like.
This Sunday we'll do that together as we see Jacob, all alone, wrestling with his God.
Hope to see you then!