I was in a land last night totally foreign to me. A Jr. High wrestling meet, tournament, throw-down or whatever you call it was the event. My last real wrestling exposure was the 1985 movie Vision Quest with Matthew Modine, therefore I admit my ignorance right up front. Pro-wrestling used to be a debate with my husband on whether it was real or not when Hulkamania was the rage, but that pretty much taps out my aptitude in this realm.
Meeting my brother, sister-in-law and Dad at the gym in Pratt we took our seats in the bleachers amidst giggling jr. high girls, parents, and participants scattered hither and yon.
There were many body types, but 2 main ones stuck out. The first was scrawny, but wiry. While they looked like multi-colored lizards, they were pretty wicked with their cat-like reflexes. They were scramblers and scraplers. The other were ones that went to the other end of the spectrum. The growth spurt ‘up’ had not hit yet, but when it did, the moms had better be ready to go shopping because the waistbands would be too big and the pant legs too short overnight. Their gift was their sturdy resilence.
Jake, my nephew, stood out in the sea of pubescent bodies. If anyone in the family is going to get the coveted Grandpa Moore (aka Paul Bunyan) build, it’s him. He was taller than any of the herd. While still lanky, one can see he is going to broaden out to be a big ol’ boy someday. Family reports have been that ‘he’s an animal, Aunt Kel!” Hence the reason I was there. I couldn’t miss a display of Incredible Hulk proportions
Being a wrestler with a hospitable side, he came up in the bleachers to say ‘hi’, but quickly hustled away to get ready for his first round. As he was dismounting onto the floor, Stacey, his mom, yelled “Go Jake Parkin!” This ricocheted off the cement walls like a gong in a cave. Stac is not one to sit quietly and golf-clap when her kids are involved. She goes into battle with them, cheering them on and encouraging. No one would mistake who her baby is.
When one is a Jr. High boy, this is usually not appreciated and at this particular moment, the Jedi Death Glare that came firing out from under Jake’s shelf of eyebrows confirmed that. If there were laser beams attached to his retinas, she would have been ashes. Stac was totally unmoved as she was implementing a plan, unbeknownst to him. She had just given him the proverbial ‘eye of the tiger.’ (Ok, so that is a classic boxing line. Work with me here, folks.)
Sure enough, the first round started and bam! Some poor unsuspecting lizard man was down. Surprizing myself, I was hollering as well. I turned to Clay and whispered, “I’m supposed to yell stuff?” since no one except Stac was and she would yell at a forensics meet. “Sure, go for it,” he said with arms crossed across his chest as he relaxed in his seat. I was not mistaken by his calm demeanor. His arms were crossed to keep the pride from blowing his chest apart.
Before long Jake was up to wrestle again. This time the opponent was not so easy. The kid tried to take Jake’s legs out from under him at the get-go. Not a smart move as that totally ticked our hero off. They flipped and scrappled. Jake had a contorted look on his face, but was racking up points like crazy. I turned to Clay. “Points are good, aren’t they?” He rolled his eyes. At this stage I imagine I would not be invited to another meet with the Parkin family. After an exhausting couple minutes, Jake came out victorious, and I had broken a sweat in my seat.
My Jake experience reminded me of the ‘Jake” wrestling with God scene in the Old Testament. It is an intriguing story that messes with all reason. If you recall, a lone Jacob wrestles with a random man from night to morning. Exhaustion had to weigh heavy him as they scuffled for hours until Jacob prevails and demands the man blesses him. Later he finds out that he was wrestling with God, who could have squashed him like a bug. The story ends with Jacob having a new appreciation of God and a life-long limp. While it is a story that baffles the mind with unanswered questions there is much to glean from this passage. God loves to initiate wrestling matches with us. Most of time we are like Jacob and don’t recognize God’s face as we tumble with him-upclose and personal. We end up exhausted, then humbled, but changed forever with the encounter. In fact, could a plan have been implemented by God to try to initiate a personal wrestling match with us through this seemingly random story? Plenty of questions are there for us to ask. The mat awaits in Genesis 32:22-32. The question is: are you ready to rumble?