The Bible tells us that 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, NKJV). 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 estranged brother, Esau.
Jacob had labored over twenty years for Laban who’d cheated him time after time. Finally, Jacob had had enough, so he took his family and fled without telling Laban.
Laban gave chase from the east with a small army, ready to kill Jacob. 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, seemingly ready to kill his brother for stealing his birthright.
Jacob faced total calamity, convinced that he was about to lose everything. The situation looked 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 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 about himself ever granted to any human being.
God described the mysteries of the natural world from the cosmos down to the depths of the sea. He pointed to the secrets of creation. Job was shown the utter glory and majesty of God, and he emerged from that experience praising God, saying, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You…. Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:2-3, 5).
Something marvelous happens when we simply trust our Lord. 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.”