Overcoming a Poor Start

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.        1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV

            The CU football team, among many games will be remembered for the game against Stanford University. CU had a commanding lead and looked like they would sail to an easy win. However, in the second half, CU stalled, and Stanford made a comeback to win the game.

            There are many accounts in sports where a team had a poor start and overcame that poor beginning and ended up winning a game or even a championship. The same is true for many individuals in the Bible and history.

            Jabez was one of those. While the details are not known, his birth was so traumatic that he carried the memory of it for the rest of his life. His name means pain. It seems the name indicated that he started out as one who caused pain and would continue to do the same and experience pain throughout his life.

            However, Jabez showed his faith in the God of his fathers and called on the name of the Lord and made his plea for the way his life started would not be his life’s script and how it ended. The Lord heard Jaez’s prayer and granted his request. As a result, he is remembered as one who was more honorable (respected) than his brothers. He didn’t allow his destiny to be determined by how his life started. But this was more than self-determination and grit. It was from one who believed there was a God in heaven who can change the course of life.

            Perhaps you can relate to Jabez. Your life has had a bad beginning. Perhaps your actions have brought pain to yourself and others. When you place your faith in the Lord, there is forgiveness, a path to a bright future, and a victorious finish.

            I think of my Filipino son in the faith, Pastor Joel Reyes. He grew up as an abandoned child on the streets of Manila. He ended up in the Isabella Province and was treated as a slave laborer by a man who took him in. He joined the anti-government army. He was almost killed in a gun battle with government soldiers and, at one point, tried to commit suicide. Yet the Lord intervened in His life in miraculous ways. He became a Christian and then followed a call to ministry. Married a wonderful Christian woman and raised a daughter who is now in medical school. He has pioneered several churches. Recently, his passion and visionary leadership have resulted in building the Dunamis School of Revival and Ministry Training in the Isabella Province.

            Don’t be discouraged about what has happened in the past or the challenges or failures in the present. Ask the Lord to bless your life and allow the end of your story to show His divine favor.