1 Chronicles 4:9-10
“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “’Because I bore him in pain.’ 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.”
Tucked away in a sea of names, we find the brief story of a man named Jabez. From the bits of data recorded about him, we learn he was an honorable man who left a mark upon his world. His name reveals much regarding his upbringing. Jabez meant “to cause pain.” He received that name because of the difficulties surrounding his birth. It seems as though his mother never got over that trauma, because Jabez grew up thinking his life would cause continual pain to others. Instead of growing up in a home where he was nurtured and encouraged to become all God had designed him to be, Jabez grew up being reminded that his life would only cause pain in others.
It is sad how often Jabez’ story is repeated. Time and time again, children grow up in circumstances that thwart their growth, rather than encourage it. An absent father, a divorce, substance abuse, or simply the lack of allowing Christ to be the center of the home, will have a profound effect upon a young person. It is common for the sins of the parents to be repeated in the children. A child whose parents divorce, has a greater chance of a failed marriage. Children, whose parents abuse alcohol or drugs, will be more likely to do the same.
It would seem the likely end to the story of Jabez is he would grow to become a man who carried the baggage and bitterness from his difficult upbringing. Instead, we read he was an honorable man, and one worthy of being recorded within the Chronicles of the kingdom.
What happened? What was the secret that raised Jabez out of the slums of despair and turned him into a mighty man of God? The answer is found in one simple phrase, “Jabez called on God.” No matter what the problem is, when we include the Lord in the equation, we will find a solution that is both glorifying to Him, and satisfying to us. Instead of allowing his difficult circumstances to determine who he would become, Jabez sought God and was transformed.
Whatever “baggage” you may have from past experiences, these things do not have to define you. You can come to the One who makes all things new. Allow Him to minister to your wounded heart, and transform you into a person who brings honor to Him, and leaves an example for others to follow.