There’s an old, old story told of the patriarch, Jacob, who wrestled through the night with an angel-man, the Divine, God-revealed. Many say he won that fight, but I am not so sure. He demanded a blessing, was given a new name, and left with a limp that haunted him the rest of his life.
There is another old, old story told of a woman who wrestled with God. Not an angel version, but flesh-and-blood, the one they called Jesus. She stopped him on the road, created a scene, and begged him to heal her daughter. He said no. She said yes. He said no again – almost rude; patronizing, inexplicable. Like Jacob, she stood firm and demanded his yes, his blessing, the miracle. And finally Jesus gave in. She won the fight, no scar; only the spoils.
The man gets blind-sided, not anticipating a fight. He demands a blessing before he’ll let this God go. Received, but wounded. The woman doesn’t pick a fight, but enters the battle willingly. She demands the wound be healed, no battle scar allowed. Received, period.
The man fights until he gets the blessing and a bone out-of-socket. The woman does too, but for her very blood and bone.
The man fights for the principle of the thing. The woman fights for what she loves.
The man wants to know who he’s fighting with. The woman already knows with whom she duels.
The man heard God’s voice and still asked who he was dealing with. The woman used her own voice and knew who she was dealing with.
The man demanded a blessing and left with a limp (and a new name). The woman demanded a miracle and left with both heart and daughter healed (we never know her name).
Jacob’s story has been told as proof of his status and stature, a template for what it means to be a man of God: chosen, honored, worthy, a fighter. Buy ringside tickets. Place your bets. Be amazed.
Her story has been told far differently: Who did she think she was to argue with God; with a man? Incorrigible. Ridiculous. Unheard of.
Still, Jacob leaves with a lifelong wound.
She leaves with a life-restored.
May it be so.