by Leo Schuster, Lead Pastor
We are all complex people who wrestle with God. While faith can be a uniquely refreshing and stabilizing lifeline in a person’s life, it is not easy. Though there are many peculiarities to modern life that make it especially challenging, the life of faith has always been fragile. This is evident from the earliest days. Take Abraham, for instance. Not only does Christianity look to him as the father of faith, he is revered by both Judaism and Islam. While he demonstrates courageous faith at crucial points, he’s a far more complex figure than is often apparent from the often sanitized story of his life retold today. And he was not alone.
The book of Genesis doesn’t hesitate to highlight the flaws of the other principal characters in this foundational book, alongside their moments of spiritual strength. They are best appreciated less as paragons of idyllic faith, and more as multidimensional, thoroughly human figures, who doubt and allow themselves to be driven by fear, unruly desires, deception, and selfish ambition. This approach makes these ancient biblical celebrities accessible to us today.
The title of our series this fall—Wrestling With God—takes its cue from the experience of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob. He famously wrestled with a mysterious, bewildering man, who turns out to be God himself. But truth be told–each of the individuals in Abraham’s family wrestled with God in their own way—as all persons of faith have across the ages.
Throughout the series we’ll give special attention to the women in the patriarchal narrative, noting in particular their suffering, usually at the hands of these and other powerful men. The point of stories like we find in Abraham’s family is not to revere these individuals as heroes, but to identify with them as they wrestle with God, and through them to see Jesus, the ultimate Hero, who wrestled with God the Father for us and overcame.
I’m really looking forward to this series, hope you’ll make it a priority to be with us regularly on Sundays this fall, and invite others to join you.