21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company. 

22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.

23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.

24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

The night before Jacob met with his brother he sent all the company over a brook, but he remained behind to wrestle with his feelings in solitude. And what a wrestle it became, going far beyond struggling in prayer, for a physical man appeared and literally strove with Jacob! Honestly, I think it might have done Jacob good to have a sparring partner that he could get out all his frustration and fear with. Fear and trauma do not only lodge themselves in the heart and in the mind, but also in the body, and sometimes physical exertion can be the best therapy for processing those deep emotions.

I also see in this story a clear representation of Jesus atoning for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. There, too, he poured his heart out to his father, and also he began to strive in the flesh, bleeding from every pore, and also an angel appeared, though this one was to strengthen him in the struggle. And in both Jacob and Jesus’s case the result was triumph and salvation. In Jacob’s case for himself and his family, in Jesus’s case for all mankind.

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