That Jabez Prayer

That Jabez prayer keeps popping up in my vision.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10- And Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore [him] with pain.”  Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that Thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and that Thy hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldst keep [me] from harm, that [it] may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested. (NASB)

Who wouldn’t want this to be real in their life? I want God to bless me and expand my borders, (unless that border is my dress size). I yearn for God to be with me and keep me from pain. I yearn to get through this heavy grief.

I pondered this tiny prayer, seeking to apply it to my circumstances. Pain. What kind of pain do I want to get away from? Why, me, of course, me and my widowhood! I want to get away from my flesh, the part of me that is not God-like.

Jabez was known as Pain and no doubt lived up to his name. Don’t we all?  It’s hard to get free from the stigma of the past. The world watches our label and expects more of the same. When Jabez asked God to keep him from pain, perhaps he too wanted to be free of his label, free to expand beyond being a Pain and free to escape that fleshly part of him that kept him from God.

Maya Angelou is credited with saying- “I’ve learned that even when I have pains I don’t have to be one.” Me too.