(This children’s talk is based on Genesis 32: 22-30)
Wrestling with God
1. To teach that God wrestles with us against our problems.
Focus Phrase/ Word:
1. Keep on going, and don’t let go.
1. Make a trophy belt; similar to the one’s given in wrestling competitions. Use the Thumbs Wrestling Federation (TWF) logo on your belt.
2. Make a thumb puppet that will represent the Bible character of Jacob.
3. Make another thumb puppet that will represent fear. (a mean looking one)
4. A good dose of humour.
1. Watch a thumb wrestling event on You Tube.
1. When the children are in place start as soon as possible, it helps to settle them and gain their attention.
“Good morning everyone, as you can see, I am wearing a trophy belt. Trophy belts are usually given in wrestling competitions. One like this is given to the champion of the thumb wrestling competition. (Wriggle your thumbs and demonstrate thumb wrestling.) I don’t compete in thumb wrestling any more, too much arthritis in my thumbs.”
2. “The one thing that wrestling has taught me is to keep on going and don’t let go.”
3. “Besides body wrestling and thumb wrestling, there are other forms of wrestling too. For example, if you had a problem with fitness you could say, ‘I’m wrestling with my fitness’. That means you keep on exercising and keep on going, and don’t give up until you are fit and healthy. Or if you have a problem with hitting a ball at tennis or baseball, or at cricket you could say, ‘I’m wrestling with my batting.’ That means you keep practising and keep on going, and don’t give up until you can hit the ball hard and straight. Or if you have a problem with spelling at school you could say, ‘I’m wrestling with my spelling. That means you keep learning your words and keep on going, and don’t give up until you are the best speller in the class room. Then you are a champion wrestler.”
4. “Wrestling is also mentioned in the Bible, and I am going to introduce you to one of the best wrestlers in the Bible, his name was Jacob.”
5. Put on the thumb puppet that is Jacob.
“Let us pretend that this thumb puppet is Jacob from the Bible. Jacob had a big problem. He had a lot of fear. Many times when he was afraid, he would go and hide, or run away, or make excuses. All that did was to get himself into more trouble.”
6. “One day, something happened that made Jacob so very afraid, he had a lot of fear. There was no place where he could go and hide, he could no longer run away, he could no longer make excuses or lie to save himself. The only way forward with his life was to wrestle with his fear.”
7. Put on the other thumb puppet that is Fear. Stick out your thumb and show the children the mean looking puppet, Fear. “Fear is mean and tough; he is very, very strong. Fear can rob you of life; fear can even rob you of faith in God. When fear has got hold of you, then it is very hard to listen to God and to go in the direction that God wants you to go.”
8. The thumb puppets of Jacob and Fear wrestle together. “Fear is so strong that God came to help and wrestle with Jacob against Fear. Although you can’t see God, he is there wrestling with Jacob against Fear. They wrestled all through the night and as the sun was coming up, God and Jacob had finally defeated Fear. God had wrestled with Jacob to defeat his problem of fear.
9. “At the end of it, Jacob was very tired, his muscles were sore, and he had even injured his hip that made him walk with a limp. He was a champion. Without fear, Jacob was now ready to listen to God and to go in the direction that God wanted him to go.”
10. “God says to all of us, ‘Do not fear, for I am with you always.’ Invite God to wrestle with you against your problem whatever it may be. Amen.”