Wrestling with God… to lose

Nikos Kazantzakis was an author who was most famous for his book Zorba the Greek.

He once had a conversation with a monk named Father Makarios. The monk had once said that he wrestled with the devil—figuratively speaking, of course.

At a later time, Kazantzakis asked: “Do you still wrestle with the devil, Father Makarios?” 

“Not any longer, my child,” came the reply. “I wrestle with God.”

“With God!” Kazantzakis exclaimed. “And you hope to win?”

“I hope to lose, my child.”*

That’s a surprising but profoundly helpful perspective. We may struggle or “wrestle” with God, hoping to make him admit that our way is better than his, or to make him change his course so that life can proceed in a fashion that we find much more agreeable.

But the thing with God, of course, is that he is God. He knows best. His way is the right way. And his wisdom is higher than our own.

Do you find yourself wrestling with God? Are you trying to work the angles to your best advantage? Are you hoping to come out on top?

Spiritual maturity includes an awareness of the providential and loving wisdom of God even when you feel like he’s against you.

I think that’s what Father Makarios was getting at. As a point of interest, do you want to know what the word “Makarios” means? It means “blessed.”

James 4:10 says: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Spiritual maturity includes an awareness of the providential and loving wisdom of God even when you feel like he’s against you.


Notes:

–*Ronald Rolheiser, Domestic Monastery (Brewster: Paraclete Press, 2019), 69.

–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on January 16, 2023.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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