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Wrestling With God

For the last several weeks I have been struggling to sleep, once again. I might go five or six days in a row sleeping only one to three hours per night. On top of that, in November I was hospitalized twice at Duke. I first went for a septic UTI, which kept me there almost a week. Then a week later, I had to go back for a blood infection which also kept me there for about a week. This caused me to miss an entire week of my class which really put me behind.

I found myself really frustrated with my situation, and really frustrated with God. Why are you allowing this to happen to me? What good is it for me to have to be hospitalized so often? Why can’t I sleep throughout the night so I can be productive day in and day out? Growl!

This week a friend sent me these verses from Genesis:

Genesis 32: 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, “I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.”

Jacob was entreating God to help him as he faced his brother Esau. He was convinced that Esau was going to kill him. He acknowledged to God that he was unworthy of His kindness and faithfulness, but still asked God to save him from Esau’s hand. He reminded God of the promise from the past when God vowed to make Jacob prosper.

God has been kind and faithful to me even when I’ve growled at him over my life circumstances over the last couple of months. I am certainly unworthy of His compassion. Like Jacob, I went from nothing to gaining so much when my injury occurred.

When I was able-bodied, before this injury occurred in 2013, I thought I had so much and yet I felt so empty. I had a lot of material things but I didn’t know how to connect with people and was having trouble connecting with God. There were also sins in my life that I was unwilling to give up, and I’m convinced I would have relapsed again and who knows if I would have had another recovery in me. For anyone who has recovered from an addiction, you understand what I mean.

Have I been like Jacob and asked God to save me? Not really. I’ve gotten up in the morning exhausted from not sleeping and have acted cranky towards people and towards God. In retaliation, I’ve gone several days without intentional prayer time and have not sought guidance from the Bible. Yet I’ve spent hours binge-watching Netflix and Amazon Prime, or mindlessly scrolled through social media distracting myself for hours. On the days when I have behaved this way, by nighttime I’ve felt agitated and unfulfilled.

Genesis 32: 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

I am a lot like Jacob. Just before my injury, I asked God to do whatever he had to do to get me in a right relationship with Him. I’m not saying the “did” this to me (will any of us ever know?), but for whatever reason this catastrophic event happened, it was worth it to me. God used it in a powerful way to draw me near to Him and open up doors to do things I never imagined I would do. Getting a MA in counseling is something that I never would have done when I was able-bodied. I wanted to do something that would make more money. Now I look forward helping others based on what I’ve learned in my life, whether unpaid or not.

I’ve come to this conclusion and blogged about it many times before, but my trials produce perseverance and make me mature and complete (Jam 1:1-5). When my heart and mind are set on things above and not earthly things (Col 3:1-2), I realize what I’ve gone through over the past almost 8 years, is simply making me more holy. Like Jacob, I need to wrestle with God over these issues rather than tuning out and numbing my mind. God will reveal His will to me and lead me to powerfully overcome my weaknesses.

Amen.

About Terri Nida

In August 2013, I fainted in my kitchen and woke up paralyzed from the shoulders down. I am still trying to make sense of all this, but one thing I know is that God is with me and he loves me.

16 responses »

  1. Oh Teri, we’ve missed hearing from you! Thank you for sharing these struggles. Through your honest testimony and God’s word, you are truly ministering to many broken people. Some, I’m sure, on the verge of giving up faith.
    Thank you sister, we are praying for you. Please post again soon! ⚘

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    • Lisa Beth – thank you for continuing to read my blog! It’s so nice to hear from you. Graduate school is kicking my behind and sometimes gets in the way of me making a post. I hope to do better this year.

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  2. tranquillesheryl

    But the Lord is Faithful, and He will strengthen you and Protect you from the evil one.   2 Thessalonians 3:3.Sent from my Galaxy

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  3. The rapids you are going through will turn to quieter waters, just stay in His ark, you’ll make it there! Blessings Terri!

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  4. Silvia Lia Leigh, MD

    God bless you Sister Terri for your courage and strength, to be able to be honest and transparent with us, your readers. I am a pastor in Nigeria. In 2000, my husband and I, married for 47 years, started a church called Father’s House Bible Church, in Warri/Effurun, Nigeria. We are both medical doctors and worked in Nigeria for twenty years. In March 2000, we resigned our work in the Hospital and entered full time ministry. on the 3rd of July, 2020, my beloved husband suddenly went to heaven (with Covid19). Since then, I am the senior pastor, continuing the ministry we have started together. After being married for so long, being single again (I am 67), it was like I had a stroke. Half of my body and mind stopped working. My husband was a Nigerian. I am a Romanian. I became desperate for the Grace of God. I could not continue by my power or wisdom. God, who sent me to Nigeria as a young wife in 1980, showed me extraordinary unmerited favor. He re-baptised me with the Holy Spirit for the work of God. He ‘injected’ me with supernatural power to will and to do of His good pleasure. I could not even mourn in the classical way. My spirit became strong to stand and encourage the congregation. They all responded like children running to their mother after daddy died. It is unbelievable! In the midst or the storm, I found my voice! Praise the Lord! I thought I knew God. I was surprised at His goodness and grace. This testimony is to the glory of God, to the shame of the devil and for your encouragement! To God alone be all the glory!

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  5. That desire to just tune out when we are tired or unwell (or just cranky for no apparent reason) is so strong! Thank you for encouraging us to face our fears and struggles and confront God about them, asking for His help, trusting in His mercy.
    In the Peace of Christ,
    Christina

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  6. I was just thinking about you ( dreamed about you actually- dreams are strange) and thought I didn’t remember seeing any emails from you lately. Glad to hear you are doing better and hate that you have to spend so much time in the hospital. Hopefully you have not had covid and they let you have visitors now.So far so good for me, but I am trying to be careful. Have really enjoyed “This American Life” podcast. Bracing for the storm and hoping I don’t lose electricity.Was also wondering if Renee moved, I called her awhile back and never heard from her. Hopefully everything worked out for her.Let me know if I can do anything to help you………………..Susan

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  7. I love how authentic your are, Terri. Your will to overcome with God’s help is so inspiring. You saying you wouldn’t want your life back before the accident reminded me when Bill once said in an interview that if being healed of ALS meant having to give up what he learned about God through his long trial, he would not want the healing. You and Bill are my heroes. I pray for your sleep when I’m up and can’t sleep. So hard to be productive on a few hours a sleep each day. Thanks for taking the time to post a blog and encourage us. Maybe that’s your therapy is to write your wrestling out here. 🙂

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  8. It’s so good to hear from you Terri. I’m sorry to hear about the hospital stays – yuck – and you have my prayers for your health. My addiction came with physical consequences (I thin I’ve mentioned them to you) that linger on even though recovery and God have been so sweet. I’ve come to see I have an experience that only someone with AIDS can relate to and that gives me a way to serve them that someone else doesn’t have. You have a blessing to share with others!

    By the way – personal opinion here – I guess we’ll be able to see God’s plan in hindsight someday. He allows life to unfold for us as life will do but He’s always waiting to make the negative consequences into blessings.

    Take care. Keep up the good work.

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  9. Thank you Terri for your always honest, and God Honouring words. You are an inspiration and encouragement with every writing. Your words have power because you listen to Holy Spirit, and He blesses others, particularly me, through you.
    I am certain than whenever and whomever you give counsel, it will bless the person, and Honour Jesus also.
    God’s Blessings and Strength as you continue your studies, and service to our Lord and King, Jesus Christ, Messiah!

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  10. I love this, Teri!
    Although my circumstances are VERY different from yours, I can relate. From chronic intractable migraine (now under control, praise God!) to ME/CFS to a second bout of viral meningitis, I feel you. Yet I know God is at work doing things in me that will vastly outlast this weak and illness-prone body I’m in.

    I’m hoping to get back in the blogosphere soon, but if He has other plans, so be it. May our Lord continue to be with you in the dark valleys and I look forward to the day we can all celebrate Him for all eternity!

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  11. Hi Honey,
    Thank you for your transparency and obedience. Can’t tell a story without a test (testimony). Everyone is tested, but not all tell. Your testimonies are so healing. I’m sure they are not so when you are going through. Please know you are such a blessing. Do not worry that you are blogging every now and then. It is divinely orchestrated that way and know that when you do blog with scripture and about the goodness of God, He will be glorified and His power manifested.

    Thank you my friend, my sister. I love you and miss you!
    Angie

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  12. Terri, just those six words, “it was worth it to me,” is such a testimony! Your experience would sound like many people’s worst nightmare, but for you to say you have something better now than you did when you were “able-bodied” has to make those people stop and think.
    Bless you! And keep shining His light!
    Annie

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