The Bible tells us Jacob received an incredible revelation through a face-to-face encounter with God: “Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30). What was the circumstance surrounding this revelation? It was the lowest, scariest point in Jacob’s life. At the time, Jacob was caught between two powerful forces: his angry father-in-law, Laban, and his hostile, embittered brother, Esau.
Jacob had labored over twenty years for Laban, who’d cheated him time after time. Finally, Jacob had had enough, so without telling Laban, he took his family and fled.
Laban gave chase from the east, with a small army, ready to kill Jacob. Yet, only when God warned Laban in a dream not to harm Jacob did this man let his son-in law go. No sooner was Laban out of the picture, however, than Esau came from the west. He too led a small army of some 400 men, ready to kill his brother for stealing his birthright.
Jacob faced total calamity, convinced he was about to lose everything. Things looked utterly hopeless; yet in that dark hour, Jacob had an encounter with God as never before. He wrestled with an angel that scholars believe was the Lord himself.
Now think also about Job. In Job’s darkest hour, God appeared to him in a whirlwind. And the Lord gave this man one of the greatest revelations of himself ever witnessed by any human being.
God took Job up into the cosmos, then down into the depths of the sea. He led him into the very secrets of creation. And Job saw things that no person had ever seen. He was shown the utter glory and majesty of God. Job emerged from that experience praising God, saying, “I now know you can do anything, Lord. I repent for questioning your judgment. I see that everything is under your control and directed by your grace. You’ve had a plan all along, but now I’ve actually seen you with my eyes” (see Job 42:2-5).
Something marvelous happens when we simply trust. A peace comes over us, enabling us to say, “It doesn’t matter what comes out of this ordeal. My God has everything under control. I have nothing to fear.”