There are certain places you will never forget because they are forever associated with some significant event. For Jacob it was Peniel because that’s where God changed his life.
Jacob had been on the run for years. He had spent his life scheming and manipulating. But now his back was against the wall and there was no way out. It’s been said that people change when they hurt enough they have to. That describes Jacob in Genesis chapter thirty-two. With nowhere else to turn, Jacob decided it was time to look to the Lord. So he did, and God showed up!
Have you ever wrestled with the Lord? Jacob did, all night long. Dying to self isn’t always easy. For Jacob it was a real battle. But when the battle was over he emerged from Peniel broken and blessed.
Brokenness before the Lord is not a bad thing. David said, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” (Psalm 34:18 NLT). Oftentimes, it isn’t until we are broken that we turn to God.
If Jacob had any misgivings about turning to God, he shouldn’t have. The result of his encounter at Peniel was that he walked away blessed. Jacob the manipulator was now Jacob the man of God.
While sin will destroy your relationship with God, suffering can deepen it if you handle it right. If you find yourself with Jacob in the middle of some painful, even frightening circumstances, look to the Lord now. Surrender your life to Him. Let God do what only He can do. In this way, the place of brokenness will become the place of blessing.
Like Jacob, may you experience your personal Peniel. Have a face-to-face encounter with the living God, and as a result, your life will be saved.
Pastor Todd Weston