Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Mindful Monday: Wrestling with God

Anya flowers quotes for depression.jpgI think God wants us to get mad at him. It means we’re in a living, normal relationship with him.


Catholic author Ronald Rolheiser goes so far to say that wrestling with God is a form of prayer. In his book, “Forgotten Among the Lilies,” he writes this:

God wants to be wrestled with. As Rabbi Heschel points out, ever since the days when Abraham argued with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Jacob wrestled with the angel, those close to God have also occasionally engaged in similar arguments.


The refusal to accept the harshness of God’s ways in the name of his love is an authentic form of prayer. Indeed the prophets and saints were not always in the habit of simply saying, “Thy will be done.”

They often fought, challenged, squirmed and begged as a way of saying “Thy will be changed!” I suspect that they did sometimes annul divine plans. God wants to be struggled with, especially if we have been living in his house for a while.

Why? Why would he want this? How can wrestling be a form of prayer?

Wrestling can be a form of prayer precisely because it can be a form of love. People who live together in love for a long time must resolve many tensions. There is constant wrestling, much anger and occasional bitterness. But the struggling together, if persevered in, always leads to new depth in love.


Artwork by Anya Getter.

Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue and click here to follow Therese on Twitter and click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.

  • Elizabeth

    I think I am finally figuring out this new blog format, Therese! I figured out how and where to leave a comment today :-)

    Anyway, thank you for this post– it means a lot. I suffer from scrupulosity (religious and non-religious) and it has been hard for me lately. Thanks for the reminder of what the depth of a true and real relationship with God is.


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Skylark

    Therese…Like your new format..very clean
    and precise…Elizabeth..appreciate what you are saying…God bless you in the struggles you wrestle with..I find these things go in cycles. When in the down cycle it helps to remember that things always do get better ..get more manageable..less intense.We can recycle these moments making
    and renewing out lives…always with God the impossible becomes possible…all is made new again.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment nelly

    This posting rings so true to me, it put tears in my eyes. God loves me, and even though I’m upset with Him sometimes, I reconcile and later understand why or why not it happened the way it did, according to His will. The challenges God gives me are always working for making me a better, stronger person. It’s just like when I have a fight with my husband, it does not mean that I cease loving him, I just want to share the truth out in the open, instead of keeping it in, and live in frustration. If there is true love, these “wrestlings” are meant to make it deeper and stronger. Proverbs 10:10 “Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble, but one who openly criticizes works for peace.” 29 “The LORD protects honest people, but destroys those who do wrong.” “32 Righteous people know the kind thing to say, but the wicked are always saying things that hurt.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Deb

    I have certainly found this to be true. I went through a terrible loss a few years ago, and I was furious with God. My usual tendency when I’m mad at someone is to cut them off, and I certainly wanted to do that with God. Prayer, in any form, seemed out of the question. Then again, I was in terrible pain, and I needed God in order to get my sanity back. So, I prayed, but it wasn’t pretty. There was a lot of sarcasm, sniping, bitterness, anger, and profanity. But we worked it out. He taught me through that angry period, which took place over the course of a year, that if you’re angry with someone you’re in a relationship with, keep talking. Even when you don’t want to, just keep talking. And there will be a resolution.

  • KimmieG

    I love the Jacob story and have claimed it for years. The Almighty even gives Jacob a new name: “Israel” which can be translated as “one who struggles with God.” A name is an honoring act, and this one means so much. It feels like a loving invitation to bring everything to God: shaking fists, tears, trembling smiles, tired indifference… What? You think the Almighty can’t handle that?? Bring it, dear heart:-)

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.