~I Chronicles 4:9, NIrV
God is the greatest giver in the universe.
A few years back, Bruce Wilkerson wrote a book, THE PRAYER OF JABEZ, and it became a best seller, seemly over night. The book was probably misunderstood. The language on the back cover helps to explain its multi-million copy sales success: Breathlessly, the blurb copy seeks to draw us in: “Are you ready. … to ask God for the abundant blessings He longs to give you?” Just praying Jabez’s simple prayer will, the blurb promises, “release God’s favor, power, and protection” and allow the enterprising Christian to “break through to the life you were meant to live.” Surely, we all want God’s blessings but the prayer of Jabez is not a rabbits foot. Judging by his name Jabez which means sorrow or one who causes pain, this man and his mother had suffered. All women suffer in childbirth but in the case of Jabez, it must have been out of the ordinary for his mother to name him “Sorrow.” Was he handicapped, did he have a birth defect? We don’t know. We do know that he became outstanding, he was more respected than all of his brothers and selfish people are not highly respected.
Then there is his prayer: “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” The prayer could be selfish but that depends of Jabez’s motive. One thing is certain; God granted him his request. It could be that Jabez did not want to cause others pain as he did his mom in childbirth. A prayer, this one or something like it, does not inoculate us from suffering. It is through the ministry of suffering that we learn and share. Perfume comes from the brutal crushing of the rose. We have wondrous blessings today because Jesus was willing to suffer. It is very possible that Jabez was thinking of others when he prayed; his motives may not have been selfish.
James the brother of Jesus said, “You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures.” Phillip Yancey believes we are prone to pray selfishly: we focus on our comfort, things that will make life easier for ourselves. We also put too much emphasis on things. The key to Jabez prayer is our motive.
Abba Father, I asked not that you keep me from suffering: I asked that you use my suffering to bring glory to Your name and to forge me into the person You want me to be. I do ask that you keep me from causes others to suffer needlessly. In Jesus name. Amen!
We are getting braced for the bad weather. The last time they gave us a bad weather forecast, they missed it all together; I hope they miss this one also. Today is hump day. One of my objectives for the day is to get the April Digest to Alabama mail. I hope you have a great day. Thank you for reading the blog.