Time for a Change
The gradual change in colour, and then the disappearance, of leaves from tress during the autumn season is a reminder that change is a built-in component of human life. But sometimes we need a different kind of change - a change we can't produce, a change that can only be effected by God. This is what Jacob needed in Genesis 32.
When Jacob had stolen the first-born's blessing from his brother Esau, he fled for his life and ended up staying in the land of Haran for 20 years. Not knowing what would await him when he returned, and assuming that he would be confronted by a less than happy brother the next day, Jacob planned a night by himself - to pray, ponder, come up with something to say to alleviate his Esau's anger.
God, however, didn't leave him alone, and in act of forceful grace, wrestled with him all night. Jacob was ever seeking a blessing, but the surprise this stranger gave was a name change: no longer would he be Jacob - the deceiving trickster, but Israel - the one who wrestles with God wins. The price of this blessing was a dislocated hip that left him with a limp for the rest of his life.
More than a name change, God was interested in a changed character. Rather than tricking people like the old Jacob, the new Jacob was going to do business with God. And our Lord has the same agenda in our lives: he intends to make us, shape us, and conform us so that we share the character of Jesus.
When we first come to Christ, God gives us a name - Christian. He places us in Christ, and we become participants in the covenant of salvation. But participating in the promise of covenant is insufficient; God wants us to share the character of his covenant.
If you find yourself wrestling with God, it means it's time for a change. God loves us enough to not leave us the way we are; he is going to continue to work in our lives to produce his character.