“Struggle session” is a fairly new term for me. I’ve been hearing it in political and educational news over the last couple of years. I’m not sure exactly what it means, but when I listen to the context, it doesn’t sound pleasant. To me, it sounds like a heated argument that is unlikely to be resolved without force or someone giving in to something they don’t believe. If this is going on in our political and educational systems, there are going to be hard feelings for a very long time! I shudder to think of the division. Then, I ask, is there good that comes from this practice?
Actually, my description above was not that far off. Since I did not know the term, I looked it up. It comes from the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 70s in China. It was pretty horrible. People and their families were drug out into the public square, accused of crimes against the Party. The assembled crowd or mob, if you prefer, screamed insults, beat them until they begged for mercy or died. The officials drug the survivors away to the gulags (a horrible prison system for political prisoners). Yeah, I don’t think anything good comes out of that practice.
When I realized what the term meant: a system of humiliation and fear, it turned my stomach. Kings and conquerors have used this tool for centuries. They use the mob to keep their hands “clean.” Much like Pilot before Jesus’ whipping, torture, and crucifixion. Then I realized God struggles with us who have chosen to follow him. See the Book of Jonah, Job, Acts (Paul) and Genesis (Jacob)1. The most famous struggle in my mind is Jacob’s wrestling match with God:
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.
25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He Ttouched2 the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.
26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but TIsrael;3 for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place TPeniel:4 “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
31 Just as he crossed over TPenuel5 the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.
32 Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank.
[Genesis 32: 24-32]1
Note: In this passage, the capitalized “He” refers to God. Lower case “he” refers to Jacob.
I bring this up because my last several posts have been a struggle to complete. It seems to take days to complete a post. I go off on tangents and rants. When I go back and review, I know it is not what the Lord wants. Then I either rewrite or start over. Sometimes the entire thing gets put in the “Not Published” folder.
Since April, I have struggled with all of my writing. The last post was the hardest. It took two weeks to complete “Clean It Out.” When I sat back after the last reading and hit ‘published,’ relief flooded my senses. The post was done. It was then that I realized my struggle was with the Holy Spirit. It is a struggle between my human nature and God’s will.
Knowing the history in the Bible, and looking at the origins of “struggle session,” I am grateful that God’s struggles with us are not like those of the world. It is not a “struggle session.” Our LORD does not use humiliation or torture to bring us to understanding. He does not force His will on us, he patiently teaches so we can daily choose our path or His adventure journey.
There was one comment on “Clean It Out.” The reader’s wisdom got me thinking in this direction. She writes: “Thanks for your gentle admonishment and encouragement.” This admonishment is from our comforter, the Holy Spirit. It is for all of us. She reminds us that the Holy Spirit admonishes us gently. We remember the Holy Spirit is God, and God is immovable. He cannot change. Not even for me when I want to throw down my soapbox and spout off my ideas!
In her simple comment, I found comfort. Our Lord is steady and strong in the battles. We can count on Him because He never changes. When we study His words, we know what He will do. But He is also a gentle shepherd when guiding us on our journey.
Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, we bless You and praise You for all the good things you bring us, including our free will to choose our path. I am grateful for Your gentle leading as I learn Your ways. Thank you for Your blessings, even the little ones just for me. Please heal our countries and continue to guide us in bringing Your Light to our world that all peoples will know You are our salvation. In Yeshua’s name, amen. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.
This post took four days to put together with a lot less struggle. Who says we can’t learn to listen? Stay faithful and keep struggling to understand His truths. Slowly, we learn step by step. Blessings to you,
1All scripture is from the New King James Version: Prophecy Study Bible New King James Version, Editor John C. Hagee © 1997 by Thomas Nelson, a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.
T 2 Genesis 32:25 ‘touched’: struck
T 3 Genesis 32:28 ‘Israel’: Lit. Prince with God
T 4 Genesis 32:30 ‘Peniel’: Lit. Face of God
T 5 Genesis 32:31 ‘Penuel’: Alternate form of Peniel, v. 30
6 Please, remember I am not a theologian! This is from my own private discussions with the Lord, study, and experiences. You may see something I do not. That is okay. Let the Lord lead you. Ask Him questions and discuss this with Him. He is faithful to lead and guide us. Just like you, I am searching for wisdom and understanding. God Bless.