Overcoming and moving forward can be extremely difficult. How do we overcome the obstacles in life? The hurt, tragedy, and trauma that seems to be unbearable. Can we really rise above our present situation and make our lives better?
Hidden within a long list of genealogies in our Old Testament is a golden nugget of truth. It was only recently discovered by popular Christian culture.
It is the story of an overcomer.
Someone who rose above his present circumstance and became a great man.
“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
Notice 3 steps to overcoming obstacles:
1. Don’t let others define you
Jabez’ name means “pain,” “sorrow,” “burden” or “miserable.” Can you imagine what a hard time this little fellow must have had when he was a boy? His name meant misery. Maybe some of the children came knocking on the door asking if Misery could come out and play. What a name!
The Bible says that his mother called him Jabez because she had borne him in pain.
It may have been a difficult birth. Or maybe she had lost her husband and was going through her own test of faith. This label would be with him the rest of his life. To the Hebrew child, a name meant destiny.
A name was often taken as a wish for the child’s future.
What parents did or what people say doesn’t define who we are. And a messy marriage, belligerent boss, sudden setback, or financial failure doesn’t define what we can become.
2. Don’t let the present defeat you
If there ever was a guy who could be bitter, it was Jabez. His very name could have driven him to a life of hate and bitterness. But Jabez, rather than letting his name determine his destiny, rose above his name, becoming a man of noble nature.
What does that tell us?
It tells us that our past does not have to determine our future. But it also tells us that our present situation cannot defeat us if we look up instead of looking around.
“Jabez called on the God of Israel.” Jabez took his eyes off of the present situation and asked God for help. God wants to help.
Victory in this life is already assured. We can’t look at the present and think we’ve lost when we are told that we are “more than conquerors.”
When we look up the present reality changes. The God with 7 million Ph.D’s in impossible makes our victory possible. How can “All things work together for good?” With God.
3. Don’t let your fear design you
God has a design for our lives. We must learn to trust Him in the good and the bad.
Jabez decided to do something about this. He decided that he was not going to live an ordinary life. The only way to do that was to place himself totally in the hands of an extraordinary God.
Jabez became such a great man they named a city after him. He became a Jewish scholar. Priests came to study under him and he wasn’t even from the tribe of Levi.
But he didn’t fear what he could become. He asked God to enlarge his territory. His life’s purpose and plan became God’s purpose and plan. We don’t have to fear what God wants to do in our lives.
Because He wants us to be so much more than what we can ever imagine.
We have countless examples of people who have stopped following God. But imagine what we could all do if we stayed the course like Jabez.
In this list of genealogies, only Jabez stands out. May we all be like him, and rise above our circumstances in overcoming the pain in our lives.
Keep Looking Up!
Heaven is closer than you think.
May God bless your day.
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