Wrestling With God (Mar-Apr 2007)

By Matt Dabbs

by Kelsi Williamson
March – April, 2007

Kelsi Williamson writes about wrestling with God. She is 18 and heading to Wheaton College next year. This is her Freshman application essay, and we thought it is a fitting response to Lent and wanted to share it with you. Our thanks to Kelsi for submitting this.

“Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome” (Genesis 32:28).

The story of Jacob, his relationship with God, reminds me that my faith isn’t any old stroll down Main Street.

Instead, this faith in God resembles much more closely a wrestling match in which I often try not to let God win. I lost many matches with God even before I knew Him as my Lord and Savior, and know that I will continue to lose. But that’s part of our deal.

As I wrestle with Him, I also grapple with my mistakes and flaws. In the end, however, I alone do not and cannot defeat sin; I must submit to Jesus in the first match and let Him finish off the fight in the second.

When I was young, I wrestled with worry. My younger years were filled with fears and anxieties about numerous situations that were completely unrealistic figments of my imagination. I worried about being sucked down the drain in the bathtub, and shut up in the bleachers at the basketball games my dad would coach. One time, I desperately insisted on going to bed before midnight in order to prevent the inevitability of turning into a pumpkin-too many hours of watching Cinderella!

As I got older, my fears increased in peril and horror. I worried about the approaching new millennium and thought for sure that the world would end as soon as we left the year 1999. I also had trouble sleeping soundly because of my fear of the dark. I refused to use any kind of sweetener or antiperspirant and warily stood five hundred feet away from the microwave at all times . . . in order to prevent cancer, of course.

I was twelve when I gained more peace about my life and faith in the power of God’s love. But, of course, the wrestling match was not over.

I had finally decided to fully give my life to Jesus Christ and demonstrate this change through baptism. I stopped dwelling so much on hypothetical disasters and felt comfort in God as a stable pillar in my life. I found solace in Matthew 6:25-34, which became a constant reminder that I could not “add a single hour” to my life through worry.

God – 1 Kelsi – 0

When I was in middle school, I wrestled with hypocrisy. I was going to a small Christian school, but was frustrated because nothing seemed at all Christian. The kids cussed, did drugs, and refused to sing in Chapel. Most teachers taught with little passion and remained unconnected to their students. And I became increasingly bitter and angry with them all. I blamed God and was turning more and more away from Him, never stopping to ask myself how my own faith might be in danger.

But God remained close by my side and provided me with the opportunity to start high school at Albuquerque Academy. Academy was a bigger, independent school with moral values far different from what I was used to. God knew that by removing me from an environment where I could easily criticize others relationships with Him, I could focus on my own flaws and imperfections. Through this fight, God gently taught me to, “first take the plank out of [my] eye” in order to then “remove the speck from [my] brother’s eye” (Luke 6:42).

God – 2 Kelsi – 0

Throughout high school, I wrestled with doubt. Even though my new school was where I needed to be, I was suddenly bombarded with many ideas contrary to my beliefs. I had to constantly rethink values I had once just taken for granted. Oftentimes, this caused periods where I was uncertain about what was true. I began to doubt the importance of God’s presence in my life because of His absence in so many of my peer’s lives.

But through the doubt, God again did not give up the fight. He used my susceptibility to false beliefs to reveal my helplessness and my absolute dependency on Him. Through confronting the uncomfortable views of the world, God filled me with a passionate purpose to follow Him.

God – 3 Kelsi – 0

And now, as I prepare to start a new chapter of my life, I continue to wrestle with God on important decisions such as college choices. I have faith, though, that I will eventually lose out to God no matter how hard I try to win.

And with each defeat, I am constantly reminded that my relationship with Jesus Christ does not consist of a single event that will provide me with all of the answers. It is a huge tournament of wrestling matches in which I have, and will continue to struggle with God and with men, and will someday, eventually, overcome.FREE Access!

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About...

Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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