Having left his family behind the man runs along the river and needs to stop to catch his breath. Breathing deeply he looks about while listening to the chirping of the birds. The breeze rustles his hair.
Stroking his beard he walks to the edge of the water. It’s late afternoon and while leaning forward and breathing deeply he listens to the sounds of nature as he thinks, I better get moving. It will be dark soon.
Taking another quick deep breath he begins to run. Suddenly he hears footsteps behind him alerting him to a possible danger and he glances back but sees no one. He continues to run and has to stop again to catch his breath. He has no idea how far he has run but feels an urgency to accomplish his mission. He kneels down and takes a long drink of the cool clear water. He splashes a little on his face, then continues to run.
Running farther along the shore he slows his pace as he glances back again. The sun has lowered in the sky. Shadows begin to appear along his route and chills skitter down his spine. The footsteps behind become louder, closer, more threatening, yet he isn’t afraid.
Glancing back he suddenly stumbles over a branch lying on the ground and falls into the river, just at the edge, not the deep water. Someone grabs him. He fights, he struggles, he lashes out. His strength is giving out but he continues to fight the stranger and has decided he will fight to the end. He feels his life depends on it.
Water blurs his vision, his hair strings across his face, his beard is soaked feeling heavy on his face, his muscles are weakening but he won’t give up.
No words are spoken and the night melts into the dawn. He’s weak but still determined. The fighting, the wrestling, has continued all through the night. It’s taken its toll on his body. He feels a sudden jab to his hip and groans loudly but continues to wrestle the stranger.
With one last determined spurt of energy he swings at the stranger and grabbing him by his sleeve he wrestles him toward the sandy shore. The silence is suddenly broken as the stranger begs for him to let him go. He won’t let go! He grunts and breathing heavily he grabs the stranger by the shoulders. Shaking him he looks directly into the strangers eyes and yells, “I won’t let you go unless you bless me!”
(Sue’s version) Gen. 32:22-31