Holding Close

Gods Story For Your Life

Genesis 35:1-15

Jacob and his family move from place to place in Canaan,
finally arriving in
Bethel, where God had first appeared to

Holding Close
Now that Jacob had
returned from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again at
Bethel. God blessed
him, saying, “Your name is Jacob, but you will not be
called Jacob any
longer. From now on your name will be Israel.” So God renamed
him Israel. /
(Genesis 35:9-10)

God reminded Jacob of his new
name, Israel, which means “one who struggles
with God” (see Genesis
32:22-32). Jacob’s life was littered with difficulties
and trials, but his
new name reflected his desire to stay close to God despite

Many people believe that Jesus promises a problem-free
life. Consequently, as
life gets tough, they become disappointed and retreat
from faith in God. Has
God failed?

Jesus actually warned his followers
that they would face hard times: “Here on
earth you will have many trials and
sorrows.” But Jesus offered them hope,
too: “Take heart, because I have
overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Instead of hoping for a problem-free
life, followers of Jesus should hold on
to God through life’s struggles.
Problems and difficulties are painful but
inevitable. Perhaps, as in Jacob’s
case, they are actually struggles with God.
These can be opportunities for
growth. Troubles give us a chance to trust God.
They are opportunities for
faith. They are opportunities for God to work in

What struggles are you facing today? If life
is going well, how are you
deepening your trust in God for when life brings
new challenges? Whether life
is easy or hard, how can you hold on to God?

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