on the banks pic

Sometimes we hit the difficult spots in life.   God frequently uses these tough times to mold us and shape us for the future.  One of my favorite bible stories is that of Jacob wrestling with God.  Jacob has been a cheat, a liar, and theif.  He’s also been blessed beyond anything he ever deserved, and not been afraid to work hard.  I think we can all identify with Jacob.  That’s what makes this story so amazing.  When we wrestle with God, with issues of faith, we may come away with a limp, but we always come away changed.  Here’s the short version:

24 But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke. 25 When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. 26 The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.”

But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”

27 He said to Jacob, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel,[a] because you struggled with God and with men and won.” – Genesis 32:24-28Common English Bible (CEB)

God has used some of the most difficult times in my life to shape who I am, and it has made me a better husband, dad, friend, and person.  I have found that in the hardest of times and darkest of places, God has come the closest.  Even if it meant we needed to wrestle.

God could have destroyed Jacob, instead, in wrestling with Jacob, God shows mercy and blessing, and Jacob is changed forever.

How about you?  How has God used hard times to change you?  To increase your faith?

Prayer:  Lord, come close to those who are going through hard times.  Let them know you are with them, bless them, and shape them, deepen their faith and trust in you.  Help me to walk alongside all those who are wrestling with God at a crossroad in life.  Amen.