When a story is true, not just in fact but in its connection to life as it really is, it becomes a source of life. We get carried along into gracious surprise, finding pieces about ourselves, learning what life is like and who God is for us. This fall we follow the story of Jacob, that conflicted and restless man who wrestled with God.
One of our favorite theologians, Abraham Heschel, teaches us that the Bible is more about God’s search for us than our search for God. Jacob’s story is proof of the concept. For what we see here, in vibrant detail, is how God chases Jacob, pursuing him through his wanderings and failures until at the end of his story we see him fully caught by grace. And from that place, full of stories and years, he realizes all that has happened: “[Jacob] worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff” [Gen. 47:31; Heb. 11:21, NIV].
This story has it all. The mystery of birth order, the stress of sibling rivalry, the common seeds of relational breakdown, the consequences of falsity and betrayal, the hope of romance, the long years of labor, the burden of an unreconciled past, the glory of forgiveness, the life- changing effect of wrestling with God. It’s all here, a true life-story flavored by grace and God.