Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope: Book Review

I wrestled with God and Won!


Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope by Joan D. Chittister, is an excellent spiritual journey for all believers that have difficulties with life’s struggles and God’s appearance of indifference.  Twenty-four distinct chapters referencing the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with God throughout the dark night until dawn and the author’s own life experiences are utilized to examine “A suffering of the soul” and the meaning of Hope.  It is the first book I have read that has clearly defined for me how so many evils and tragedies can be present in our lives without jeopardizing our faith.  The book has three source validation for me with regards to Catholicism:  Genesis  32: 22-32[i], an interpretation by of this scripture by Catholic on-line[ii], and the book was loaned to me by my parish priest.

I recommend this book for anyone facing adversity, depression, loss, or other struggles that threaten your sense of self.  I also recommend this book for those that have not faced life altering events – as a primer on how to be prepared.

“God is not a puppeteer.  God is not a magician.  Our lives lie in our own hands and we will have to take charge of them before anything important about them can really come to resolution.”

Concepts of change, suffering, conversion, isolation, darkness, faith, fear, courage, powerlessness, surrender, vulnerabilities, limitations, exhaustion, endurance, scarring (being wounded), transformation, struggle and hope are illuminated in a special way.  A most read book.

The story of Jacob wrestling thru the night and suffering a mortal hit to his hip (wounded profoundly) and continueing the wrestle is a profound story in Genesis.  We can learn a great deal from jacob.

(Book is avialbe for 9.99 on Kindle – I have no conflict of interest recomending this read.  I bought three copies – one for my parish priest so he does not have to lend out his marked up copy, one for myself, and one for a person close to me).    

[i] Genesis 32:22-32New International Version (NIV)

Jacob Wrestles With God

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.25 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. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a]because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[b] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[c] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.



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