It’s the word that I find on every page that I turn. It may not be spelled out, not necessarily readable on a phonetic level, but the idea of redemption is indeed a theme of the Word of God. It’s not just reserved for the New Testament or for the rapture, you know. Redemption is something that people from the OT and folks from a present day as well. God has always been in the restoration business.he lives a good renovation story. 🙂

Here’s one that I particularly enjoy:

1 Chronicles 4:9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.”10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

In a long list of names, the Lord takes a moment to highlight a man. That seems significant, don’t you think?

The word used here for “pain” can be the same used for the word “sorrow.” Either way, I’d rather not have such a name. Would you? My little guy was pretty painful to birth (All 10 pounds 2.6 ounces of him!) but I didn’t name him “painful” or, the thing that I was shouting while he was being born, “Get it out, get it out, get it out!” (I wonder what the Hebrew word for that is?) Regardless of what the woman named Jabez, he was still determined to live a blessed life. He had no qualms about going to God and asking for a blessing.

Look, I know there are lots of books, songs, sermons, etchings, prayers, etc. written about these two verses in 1 Chronicles. Some people have used it as justification to treat God like Santa, making out their lists of stuff and asking God to keep them without pain, etc. Some people have been angry at those people and have pretended like this verse did not exist. I’m not getting into that argument. Mostly because I don’t care.

What I enjoy about these verses is how God gave Jabez what he asked for regardless of his name. God didn’t look at Jabez and say, “Oh, sorry, you’re cursed so I can’t give you anything even though I am Almighty and Sovereign. Sorry, hands tied. Get a new name.” God honored the man’s faith, not what others called him. God redeemed his name and Jabez is down in the history books as the guy who asked and received.

The other thing that I’m going to walk away with is that nobody can determine your destiny. Your destiny is about you and Jesus (and sometimes not even about you). What somebody called you cannot put you in a box. What somebody has done to you cannot ruin your life. We all have scars, bumps and bruises, but it does not disqualify us from living a life of abundance.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Anette Funicello, mouseketeer extraordinaire, a woman who struggled with multiple sclerosis later in life. At a time in her life when many were expecting her to complain and write tell-all books about the seedy underbelly of the Mickey Mouse Club, Annette, with much wisdom said, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.”

If she can look at life with a positive attitude, why can’t I? If she can refuse to allow her circumstances to define her life, then why should I?

Not pain, not sorrow, not my own insecurity should keep me from living an abundant life. After all, that’s what He came to give us, right?

John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.