«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» (1 Chronicles 4:10, NKJV).
In the Bible there are books that tell stories of certain characters in great detail, but some characters are merely mentioned. Jabez is one of them. There are only two verses that talk about him.
Jabez’s name was a continuous reminder of his mother’s painful labor. Let’s imagine that every time they called him, it sounded like this, «Pain, come here,» or «You who was born in pain, do this.» The outlook doesn’t seem very pleasant for the character in our mini-story. But what we’re told about him is encouraging.
The Bible mentions that Jabez was more honorable than his brothers and that he prayed to the God of Israel. His prayer was rather a wish or a sigh pronounced out loud. He said, «Oh, if You would bless me, and enlarge my territory, and if Your hand was with me, and you kept me from evil, so it wouldn’t harm me! »
Jabez prays specifically about the thing that was with him his whole life: pain. He asks the right person. He asks for his evil not to be an impediment for what God could do through him.
We don’t know anything else about him, but what we know is enough.
And we can learn a lesson from Jabez about our attitude.
Let’s imagine, like the popular illustration says, that there’s a great pot of boiling water that represents an ocean with the storms of life raging inside. Let’s imagine there’s a carrot, an egg and some coffee beans. We put them in the boiling water, and after a while the results will be very different. Confronted with that same “storm,” each of them reacted differently. The carrot weakened. The egg hardened. But the coffee beans… the coffee beans mixed with the water and gave it a delicious flavor. They adapted without losing their identity, and they transformed their environment.
In the midst of his storm, Jabez cried out to God. Read the verse again and notice how the story ends.