Did you ever fall and hurt your knee as a child? Ever had your heart broken? Ever felt as if your life was shattered? Lost a loved one? A spouse? A fiance? A best friend? Ever been betrayed? Pursued? Defamed? Ever had something come into your life that was so swift, so devastating and so profound that you never thought you would make it through to the next day?

Of course you have. We all have. But, like all wounds that hurt us when they first happen, eventually they become faint scars which still leave their mark, but no longer define us as they once did.

Wounds are serious business. They hurt, they are raw, they are open, they bleed, they weep, they maim. But God can take our wounds and transform our lives. God can take the deepest of wounds and make them our deepest and most wonderful success stories.

I’ve been thinking about Jacob a lot lately. You know the Jacob from the book of Genesis in the Bible. You know Joseph’s dad. Yes, the Joseph that got thrown in the pit by his brothers.

Why have I been thinking about Jacob you ask?

Well, because he is the only person in the entire Bible, or throughout the annals of human history that has actually touched God. In fact, he “wrestled with God” and according to Genesis 32:24-26 “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

What touches me about this passage is that Jacob, who was just a man, a mere mortal must have possessed such tenacity and grit, such perseverance and faith that when he wrestled with God, he remained “able”–the Bible says he “wrestled to daybreak”. And this impressed God–it moved God–It caused God to walk away and let Jacob go on his way.

My point is this:

First, God wrestles with us all. Maybe not in the physical as with Jacob, but in the spiritual, emotional and otherwise. He tests us–never tempts us–but tests our resolve to follow him and hold on till daybreak. He calls us to be faithful no matter what happens in the natural. This is not easy–in fact it is downright difficult.

Second, when we have proven ourselves faithful and resisted the attack, the illness, the hurt, the shame, the failure–God touches us–he allows us to remember–leaving a scar–to remind us (as he did Jacob–we know that Jacob walked with a limp and a cane for the rest of his life going forward) of the battle we endured and the struggle we overcame. So, if you have suffered a blow lately–a wound–one that seems insurmountable, a pain that seems unbearable–then think of Jacob. He was a man with many troubles–two wives, one he loved–one he did not love, 12 sons, most of them unruly, selfish, and wicked. He feared reprisal from his brother Esau (who he wronged) and he was wandering in the desert looking for a home for his tribe.

Yet, God found him worthy of touching–God tested his faith and his resolve to keep going forward. Jacob seems to have won the day–and the respect of God. But in the fight, in the struggle–Jacob was left with a wound–a scar–a hip (and a spirit) that was forever touched by the hand of God. So it is with all of us. There are no exceptions.

The lesson for all of us is that we need to learn from our failures and embrace the wounds in our lives. They can change us for the better. If we allow God to do His job–to work in us and through us–YES–we will have a scar–but remember that a scar signifies that we have healed–and in the healing process we will be emboldened with a testimony to help someone else.

Have a good week!

If I Have Not Love, I Am Nothing