I wear a ring I bought back in high school (1970’s, just to be clear) that bears the ichthus (fish) symbol of the first century Christians. One time, someone pointed out my ring and asked if I were a Pisces.
Obviously, I’m not an astrological kind of person. As a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom, I certainly don’t believe that being born under any kind of sign or pronouncement necessitates my destiny.
So I like really like this little piece about a man named “Pain and Distress”.
“There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful.”
I get it that mom had a hard time in L&D, but c’mon, really?? Can you imagine what his social life must have been like? “Uh-oh, here comes Pain and Distress.” I’m pretty sure the birthday party invites were a bit scarce. Think about being called on the teacher in grade school, or when mom yells for you to come in at night. Thankfully, it gets better…
“He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!’”
This is just so revealing because Jabez, who grew up with that kind of a moniker hanging over his head (and spirit) decided that it wasn’t going to define his life anymore! In fact, when he finally says “ENOUGH, ALREADY!”, he boldly prays for the exact opposite of the curse he had lived under all of his life.
Here’s the point. Even though I was raised by great parents in a good family, all that, I still grew up in a depraved world under a ruthless spiritual attack more invasive and pernicious than ISIS could ever hope to be. And things stick.
Here’s a “sticky” list pretty common to many sojourners on this planet:
*insecurity (manifesting all different ways based on the personality involved)
*fear (akin to #1), of rejection by God, by people, fear of deception
*self-centered pride and perspective
*laziness and neglect and stupidity
And the list goes on. Satan’s been at this “naming” business for a really long time. The problem comes when we accept it.
God promises that we have a “new name” waiting for us. But at the same time, we don’t have to totally wait, because changes are available to us now. That’s what Ole’ Pain and Distress himself found out:
“And God granted him his request.”
1 Chronicles 4:9,10 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.