In order to write this I must with some apprehension admit to being a classic wrestling fan. Ask most fans to name the stars of Wrestling Entertainment and you will hear the likes of Hulk Hogan, The Rock, John Cena, Stone Cold, etc. But I remember the good old days when wrestling wasn’t a major event or pay per view, but the local circuit that performed at State Fairs and small halls. I grew up watching Dick the Bruiser, Bobo Brazil, Yukon Moose Chollak, The Big Cat Ernie Ladd and others. As a kid I didn’t notice the pulled punches, the next move play calling in the corner or other now obvious giveaways to the “entertainment” value of wrestling. I saw two giants trying to beat down the other.
There was nothing better than the Steel Cage Match, a cage that surrounded the ring with a lock or chain on the door that prevented the wrestlers from running or escaping the beat down they were about to receive. This was not a match for the weak, no sir-this was a blood bath of major proportions that was reserves as the main event of the evening due to the clean up necessary afterwards. I’d imagine being in the ring against the “bad” guys and laying a few classic moves on them, the old abdominal stretch, a clothesline or two, and before it was outlawed, the pile driver. I always won!
There was a grappler in the Old Testament named Jacob. We find in Genesis that he was locked in a not-for-entertainment real battle with the Lord. Jacob didn’t start this fight, but he was certainly eager to participate and he wrestled and clawed and held on for what may have been hours with the Lord or His agent in order to receive a blessing from God. Jacob was allowed to be engaged in this fight until his will and his energy were spent and he was at the mercy of God, having nothing left with which to resist. Even after the Lord touched Jacob’s hip and put it out of socket Jacob wouldn’t let up. Jacob was eventually rewarded for his fierce tenacity and received his blessing along with a name change. Jacob named the place of the event of that night with a name not indicative of his battle and victory, but of his humility of being allowed to wrestle with God and survive.
Wow, have there been some times in my life that I envied Jacob! How I longed for an opportunity to wrestle with God in a steel cage to show my sincerity and desire to receive God’s blessing and favor in my life or over a certain situation. Foolishly, to have God in a cage where He couldn’t escape my clutches until He gave me what I was asking for. Why, I’m sure God would be impressed with my wrestling knowledge and quiver of moves. He’d really have to be on His game to beat me!
Aren’t we funny. We have God all figured out and applied to man made formulas of interaction, as if certain key words or actions will trigger His response or gain an out-flowing of His favor. If we say this prayer this many times and quote this verse backwards while performing a step over toe hold, God will cry uncle and give in to our relentlessness. How I wish it were that easy. The fact is God doesn’t need to be in a cage as He has no desire to escape or hide from us. Jesus said “I am with you always”, even when we (I) can’t see Him or sense Him or hear Him. Most times we are wrestling against ourselves with what we know to be truth and the enemy who wants to power bomb us with lies. We “wrestle not against flesh and blood” but it sure seems it would be easier at times if we could. At least the sensation of pain would be a confirmation of divine engagement. It is believed that Jacob walked with a limp from his encounter with God until the day he died. How cool to carry in your body the evidence of a face to face with the Almighty! Better yet to be in an old fashioned slobber-knocker with God in a steel cage!