By: Andrea Sawyer-Kirskey
December 08, 2020
22 Jacob got up during the night, took his two wives, his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed the Jabbok River’s shallow water. 23 He took them and everything that belonged to him, and he helped them cross the river. 24 But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke. 25 When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. 26 The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.”
But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”
27 He said to Jacob, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.”
29 Jacob also asked and said, “Tell me your name.”
But he said, “Why do you ask for my name?” and he blessed Jacob there.
I don’t know about you, but when I have had times of wrestling with deep questions, I don’t sleep much. I end up watching the moon turn into the dawn breaking.
During this time of dealing with the restrictions, limitations and isolation that Covid has brought into my life, compounded by the realities that black lives do not hold equal value as white people’s lives in our country, I have been wrestling with a lot of thoughts and questions over the past six to eight months.
How valuable am I?
What do I need to feel whole today?
What was I created for?
The young adults I work with are asking similar questions as the world they thought they would experience—on college campuses, in internships and leadership programs—has changed. But most of all, they wonder who they will be on the other side of this.
On a good day, these questions lead me to still myself and meditate. It’s in those times of meditation that God comes, and we commune, wrestle, and labor around my un-ease.
Other times these questions lead me to engage with my community of friends, family, and colleagues. In this space of community with those who know and love me a reciprocal space of asking each other questions happens. It is in this space that healing happens. Our engagement with each other’s questions allows us to discover new things about ourselves and each other. Sometimes God blesses us by giving us other people with whom we can wrestle.
Douglas V. Steere quoted in the book Another Way puts it this way: “To listen another’s soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be the almost greatest service that any human being ever performs for another.” (pg 67)
I pray that as we wrestle with the questions of life that we allow God and others to give us the great gift of listening our souls into a condition of disclosure and discovery.
Andrea Sawyer-Kirskey, Executive Director of DOOR, is a member of FTE’s Community of Practice Cohort which is a two-year journey with an emerging network of Christian institutions committed to accompanying young adults in vocational exploration and discernment for ministry.