This is the time of year when Fort Hays State University and scores of other campuses fill up with students, from freshmen to seniors to graduate students, each wrestling with their new challenges in the classroom, the campus, and community. Some will wrestle with being away from ‘home’ for the first time and living in a dormitory with a new roommate. Some will wrestle with whether or not to get an apartment off campus. Some will wrestle with having a light schedule of 12 credit hours, while others will wrestle with a heavier schedule of 18-20 hours this semester. Others will wrestle with getting a part-time job for some extra spending cash, while others will wrestle with a diet of Ramen noodles and coffee. A select few will be a part of the Fort Hays State Wrestling team, and will wrestle with making weight before each match! Regardless, college life brings about a whole lot with which to wrestle!
When I think about wrestling, I think about when Jacob wrestled with ‘the man’ (God) at the Jabbok River. Jacob was convinced that his twin brother Esau, who had a powerful band of soldiers, was coming to kill him. Jacob had stolen the birthright from Esau by tricking his father Isaac, who was old and blind, into believing that Jacob was really Esau, and was due the inheritance of Isaac. The story from Genesis 32 goes like this: <italics>“The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.”</italics> - Genesis 32:22-31
Wrestling with life- or with God and humans- can wear anyone down, especially a student. So, if you’re a student or know a student who is wrestling with the challenges, be like Jacob- hold on, don’t let go! For whatever or whoever you’re wrestling with may just bless you, as you prevail. And no matter what campus you’re on, there will most likely be a Christian-based campus center that will help in your struggles as you wrestle with the challenges of campus life. There will be campus ministries you can get involved in, and you’ll find that the Campus Chaplain is AWESOME! (They always are!) And most importantly, you’ll find you’re not wrestling alone, and will be blessed by God and others.
So, as the campuses fill up with students wrestling with the many challenges of collegiate life, join with me in prayer and support of these amazing blessings!