“Jabez was more honored than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez and said, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez called out to the God of Israel, “If only you would bless me, extend my border, let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not experience pain.” And God granted his request.”
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 CSB
To be born in this world is to be born in pain. Compared to the comfort of the womb, the world outside must be a shock to the system for the newborn. Thankfully I can’t remember that. In the here and now, the closest I come is getting out of a warm bed on a cold winter morning. For me every day is filled with those shocks to the system.
In our world, we are assaulted all day, by tumult, and a myriad of life struggles, by the reality that our world is not getting better. In my life I have discovered the great peace there is in Jesus, even as it seems my world is falling apart. I have shelter.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
Psalms 91:1-2 KJV
When I consider the prayer of Jabez, I think of my own desires from the Lord. I seek Him early and often. At six o’clock on the nose, I turn off the news and begin with worship music. Soon the shocks of the new day are dashed away as the sounds proclaiming the glory of God fill my house.
I read my bible, sip my coffee and then I take the scriptural crumbs from my holy meal the Lord has laid before me and I share. Jabez asked God to extend his borders, build for Him a buffer. In Biblical times, the border was everything. It protected you and it made for good neighbors. The word of God is my protection. It defines for me the boundaries of how I am to live. It defines how I am to treat others, and by considering all before me, I have peace.
It also extends those boundaries as I have a mission. I seek to share the the great Gospel that has saved my soul and is transforming me. When I encounter adversaries, I know that the Gospel can make them into brothers and sisters.
Instead of fighting, I pray for them, instead of cursing them, I ask the Lord to make away for me to be a blessing to them. I offer the cold refreshing water of life, to quench the thirst of one filled with the dry bitterness of division and hate.
I focus on doing the will of the Father because I know He is with me. My greatest weapon is love. That love is all encompassing, and infuses all of my life. It guides my decisions, my daily choices that affect every aspect of my temporal and spiritual life. I turn from sin to have clean hands and a pure heart so that I can pray unhindered.
I constantly check myself, to find areas that can cause conflict. This keeps me from grieving myself. I learned long ago that I can be my own worst enemy. All too often I have used words as weapons to inflict pain, only to get blowback.
I also ask the Lord to keep me from temptation, and I make daily choices to move away from things that can draw me to think and do things that cause me pain. The more I obey the word of God the less pain I have.
Through God, I have been given influence. I am reminded daily that God is the source and I am but one of many messengers, bringing the Good News to a sick and dying world. I am glad that God has humbled me through sickness and physical struggle. Like Paul, I have me thorns in the flesh that help me to remember that there is a number to my days.
God has honored me through all of this, as He has used the struggles to make me a vessel that He can use. In my humility, He has exalted me. In my bowing my heart, He has used me in ways that I will never fully comprehend. I praise my Great God for that.
Believers, consider Jabez. Ask the Lord to extend your boundaries of influence that you may have the opportunity to share the healing message of the Gospel to all those who need to hear it. Pray for those who you have disagreements with, ask the Lord to daily search you to find the things that can cause you pain. Often those pains are blowback from others that you have sought to hurt.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!