“Wrestling the Light” is also the title of one of the few books of prayer I read and re-read , written by Ted Loder. Ted is someone that few people have heard of but who is of significant importance in my faith journey. I met Ted over 20 years ago, and he was an old curmudgeon back then. Ted was one of the few pastors I had met who shared with me something of the grappling, tussling… not so much rebellious or embarrassed, but often-besieged faith I experience. Ted wrote these words that, for the 20 years or more I’ve read them, define my relationship with God.
My need is great as hope.
my longing fierce as wonder
and I stumble toward you.
drawn by the light of your promise,
roused by the prowl of your grace
in the far country haunt of my soul.
The subtitle of “Wrestling the Light” is “Ache and Awe in the Human-Divine Struggle.” It’s one of the few books that I have signed by the author. When he signed it , Ted wrote this: For Dan, My new found friend with an old passionate / kindred soul, and who knows how to wrestle the light because you trust it will win and it does in you.
Now I don’t know if it’s the need to please others or that desire to measure up to a mentor, but I read this inscription often. Who knows how to wrestle the light because you trust it will win…and it does in you. This sentence haunts me because somehow Ted saw two things I don’t always see in my faith experience. First, that I trust the light will win. I knew Ted was a very competitive guy who has been humbled, and so winning can mean a lot of things. Over the years, I’ve come to understand winning to mean something more like being persistent or enduring.
Secondly and more astonishingly, Ted wrote: Who knows how to wrestle the light because you trust it will win…and it does in you. This idea that God’s light is persistent, is enduring in and through me, despite my being … well, me… has been extremely inspiring. It is what has seen me through a mid-life crisis of faith; it has helped me to believe that God is using what it is that I have to offer. And it encourages me to continue to wrestle the light, even if it means I’m becoming something like an old curmudgeon like my old friend, Ted.
Keep the Faith,