Ever lived through internal pain? Ever been stigmatised in life? It’s painful, and not many survived through it. It’s probably one of the worst pains that one could experience in life cos it’s deeply ingrained. It’s the kind of pain that doesn’t take a physical manifest. Because it’s on the inside…. and mightily hurtful.
There is a story of a man stigmatised. He lived through a social and emotional birth defect, but he didn’t just survived, he thrived. And i pray that his story may be ours as we trade our rejection for His redemption…
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez,[a] saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.
Think about this – “God granted him what he requested” – meaning that God answered his prayer. I would trade anything for the confidence that the Almighty would move heaven and earth to answer my prayer, yet there is more than meets the eye in this prayer offered by Jabez.
1) Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers
- Jabez is one insignificant personality whose name and story is only mentioned once in the whole entire Bible. Tucked among the endless list of genealogies of people who once lived and have now died, we know very little about him.
- One thing we do know is that he was more honourable than his brothers. It probably has much to do with the nature of the prayer he prayed. For his prayer embodied a trust in God which shaped the outcome of his pain.
2) And his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.
- The second thing we learn about Jabez is that, when he was born, his mother named him “Pain,” or “Sorrow.”. Unbeknownst to us why his mum would stigmatise her newborn baby, we know that she might have been very discouraged, hopeless and faithless when she delivered him. Imagine starting a brand new life with a curse of pain placed over you…imagine trying to break through the dark cloud of depression over the family you were born into. Whatever it is, this hurting man is praying “Lord, please heal me…I don’t know what is wrong with me, but there is a deep unexplainable pain within and pain seems to be my lot in life”.
- There is so much problems in our adulthood that is connected to the way we have been parented in the past. No matter how grown up and successful we have become now, we can never run away from the fact that we are what we are largely to the extent that we have been parented. And some of these issues are haunting us now…and we need our resolve to come from the God who can heal our bitterness for our betterment.
- Jabez is a man with all the odds stacked against him.Tainted hereditary. Deep maternal rejection. Fatherless… Stigmatised…a great formula for a life of failure. Yet in the midst of his impossibility, he cried to the God of Israel and prayed a remarkable prayer
3) And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
- Have you ever cried so loud to God in the midst of your deep pain? Here is his 4 part prayers that we could pray over our world too:
“ Oh, that You would bless me indeed…”
- I believe that this is not a selfish prayer. It is a prayer where he cries out, “Lord, unless you heal me first, I cannot heal my family. Lord, unless you remove my pain first, I cannot produce greatness. Unless you fill me, I cannot overflow…” Here is a man asking God to fill the void that has been left there – a request for an intimacy with God.
- Jabez realised that his true blessings can come only from his Jehovah and that they are gonna overtake his biggest pain or limitation in life.
“…and enlarge my territory…”
- Jabez prayed a second request. “Enlarge my territory…my border.” he was asking for more influence, greater opportunity…He is asking to find a way to break out of whatever may be limiting him, hemming him in and enslaving him. We too may feel that we are in a situation in which we have no opportunity to grow, or advance, or be fulfilled or satisfied. We have to pray, for God to show us the SCOPE of our life – the boundary, the line of demarcation, the territory we have to conquer, the land we have to possess, in the stage of life we are in now.
- Prayer has a way of enlarging our capacity to envision more. The reading of the Word, the time taken alone with God, the communion of our hearts to God, is able to enlarge our boundary…and remove the foundation that we think we stand upon all these while…and open new doors…
“…that Your hand would be with me…”
- Jabez asked that Jehovah’s hand would be upon him…he realised that the hand of the Father is an opened hand…not a closed fist. As children of God, He will not reject those who come to Him in brokenness and utter dependance…
“…and that You would keep me from evil…that I may not cause pain!”
- Here is a prayer that is rooted in a deep awareness of his past…his marred inheritance. He is asking God to protect him from his everything of his past that may come looming over him…his own besetting sin that can so easily encroach upon and endeavour him…his very weakness that may sprung up on him and trip his life…. We too should not be ashamed to ask God to keep us from the sin that we are most prone to…so that the stigma and curse once placed over our name will not come true in our life.
” So God granted him what he requested.”
- Isn’t this beautiful? God did it. God made it come true. God changed the outcome of his life. God removed the sting and changed it into success. God was with Him and brought him through and delivered him. May we too experience this turn in life. A life wrought in rejection, but turned into one glorious redemption….may you be blessed today!
(Featured Image: Courtesy of Angel Florensia & Awi Suryadi)