Pro Wrestling May be Fake...but Faith Wrestling Isn't

8:40 AMHeather

There's a wrestling match going on here. It's pretty intense. On par with the best matches from the Von Erich days. (You Texas children of the 80's know exactly who I'm talking about). It's all back and forth and quite the struggle. It's the stuff of Nacho Libre. Most of the time, I have my face in the mat, barely able to lift a shoulder at about the count of 3.


I'm wrestling against doubt. Wrestling against my circumstances and my dreams and my unfulfilled hopes. The list could go on, but the bottom line, really, is that I'm wrestling against God. 

I've sorta begun clinging to the story of Jacob when he wrestled against God. Because try as I might, I think my faith journey is more a wrestling match than it is some great race that I'm running. And I find it rather comforting that there seems to be a Biblical precedence for this that tells me that it's okay. That God is okay with me wrestling with him. He is okay with me struggling in my faith.

And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone here. I'm pretty sure that many of you bloggy friends are in the same boat. You are wrestling against God or with God and with the idea of trusting him and living out a faith in him. Maybe you wrestle because of something that happened to you. Maybe you wrestle because you just see all the bad in the world and you wonder how there could be a God and how he could possibly be good. Maybe you wrestle because of your intellect and education. And the idea of a having faith in the invisible seems ridiculous.

The Bible is full of stories of men and women who just plain wrestle with God. Yet, since my days of listening to audio tapes of Bible stories as I drifted off to sleep, I've sorta built all the Biblical people up as some superheroes who used to leap tall buildings with a single bound.  

One of the few sermons of my father's that I actually still remember from my teenage days was on Hebrews 11.  He called it the Faith Hall of Fame. The chapter is chock full of impossible plumb lines on living out faith. Going to strange lands, offering up sons for sacrifice, going toe-to-toe with a pharaoh.

You know, the usual.

It's like scrolling through a social media news feed and watching your faith shrink up with your own feelings of inadequacy.  Except, like social media, it doesn't show the whole story.

It doesn't show the wrestling matches.

Hebrews 11:
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family
But yet, Genesis describes a shameful time when Noah got drunk and exposed himself.

By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went.
But yet, Abraham lied to the king not once, but twice, during his journeys about his wife, saying she was his sister out of fear.

By faith, Abraham, even though he was past age -- and Sarah herself was barren-- was enabled to become a father.
But yet, Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands and had Abraham sleep with Sarah's maidservant in order to bring forth a son.

By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons.
But yet, Jacob was known as the deceiver as he stole his brother's birth right and he literally wrestled with God one night.

By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of the Pharaoh's daughter.
But yet, Moses also murdered an Egyptian who was mistreating a slave. 

By faith, Moses left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
But yet, this is the same Moses who argued with God at the burning bush about how incapable he was for the job of leader.

By faith, the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land.
But yet, these are the same people who grumbled repeatedly about their "fate" in the desert after being rescued from captivity.

By faith, the walls of Jericho fell, after the people marched around them for seven days.
But yet, these are the same people whose parents worshipped a golden calf when Moses took too long on the mountaintop with God.

By faith, Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed.
But yet, that would be Rahab the prostitute.

The author of Hebrews says, "I do not have time to tell about David"...Who committed adultery and had a man killed..."or Gideon"...who wrestled repeatedly with God about being called to lead an army..."or Samson"...who lost his strength due to a weakness for a girl named Delilah.

THEY WERE ALL COMMENDED FOR THEIR FAITH.

It's pretty mind blowing when you consider the full context of each name listed in this roll call of great faith. Because every last one was also completely human. Every single name mentioned had their fair share of wrestling matches with God and struggles and stumbles.

What a picture of God's grace that this Faith Hall of Fame includes everyday sinners and wrestlers and strugglers who somehow kept pressing forward.

The truth of this list of names is that not a single one of those people were actually legendary or superhuman. The truth is that every last one wrestled with God. Every last one had their fair share of doubts and failures and mess-ups.

No, they are not legendary. 

But their God is.

And I love that God commends these people to us to show us a huge lesson.

A noteworthy faith is not a perfect faith that never waivers or doubts. A noteworthy faith is one that wrestles and struggles and strains and ultimately chooses to walk with faith in spite of our doubts. 

This is where I solidly land. Wrestling. Trying to choose God, in spite of my doubts. Letting him know my doubts. Honestly. Because he knows them anyway. 

So my soul wrestles forward, crying out loudly-- "I do believe! Help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24).

And there in the middle of my wrestling match, I found a companion verse...a part two for those desperate cries for an ability to trust and choose faith.

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5)

The pressure that we can take off ourselves in our wrestling match. When we realize that we can just cry out for him to help our unbelief and increase our faith. We don't have to deny our doubts or put them all to rest or maintain control over them.

But we can just run to him with every last one, and plead for his supernatural assistance.

Because it's not up to us. 

He knows full well how much we struggle. And while we were yet sinners, he sent his Son to die for us.

So he covers all our faults. He fills in all our gaps. He even assists us with the faith and belief that we need in our wrestling matches.

It's rather hard to truly comprehend. 

But, I'm working on it right now. In this season of life, when I have so many questions and doubts and fears and a real issue with unbelief.

And today, I feel called to create my own Hebrews 11. Not one that commends all my incredible moments of faith (that'd be a short list). But to create a list of great moments of his faithfulness. To pause and reflect and remember all the ways he has shown up for me in the past. All the little miracle moments and the big ones.

Because I think that this will increase my faith. I think that remembering will help my unbelief.

What about you? If your hard pressed against the mat in a great wrestling match of faith, then why don't you join me?

Why don't we take 10 from the wrestling and instead stop and remember?

Remember all the great things -- all the little things -- that he has done for us. Asking him to bring them to mind. To give us eyes to see them.

I do believe, Jesus. Help my unbelief! Increase my faith!

That it might be said of me..."by faith, Heather, chose to trust God in spite of her doubts."

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