Once, I found my father’s name in the Bible. An unusual name, “Ruel”, spelled Reuel in the Bible, was my daddy’s middle name. I read of this man whose daughters were saved from danger by Moses and I felt a sort of joy.
The paternal grandmother I never knew must’ve read her Bible.
My daddy had five brothers and a sister who died as a child. Daddy was the baby. The brothers’ names were simply normal.
I’m reading the Old Testament book of I Chronicles. Chapters, thus far are verses and verses of lineage, names interspersed with sister, brother, mother, father.
Until the fourth. A boy named Jabez was named because of his mother’s pain. I suppose she must’ve told him because when he got to praying age, he embraced his name’s baggage (born in pain) and he asked God to change it.
Doesn’t seem like he blamed his mama, brothers, daddy or God.
He just asked God to bless his life.
“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!”
And God granted what he asked.”
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 ESV
Not long ago, I heard something that surprised me. I heard that forgiveness relieves the torment of trauma.
This wasn’t new. I’ve made my list and I can see evidence of this truth.
But, then I heard that we’re supposed to accept that some of the wrongs done to us were intentional.
Words, fists, cruelty and all.
Crazy, I thought. The right thing to do is to see their trauma, their pain, their unrest, their unintentionally harmful behaviors as them being damaged and “doing their best”.
No, this person said. You gotta acknowledge that they were intent on harming you when they did.
Only then is forgiveness truly forgiveness.
Maybe Jabez wondered why his mama had to name him that, it’s bad enough you tell everyone how much pain I caused you.
Did you really have to make me be reminded every time my name was spoken?
I sure would like to talk to Jabez. I’d love to hear more of his story.
I’d love to know the benefits he saw of facing his handicap and asking God directly to change it. No pouting, no dwelling on old wounds, no triggers of trauma, only a life that was full because he had the courage to say.
Yes, this is bad.
God help me turn it around.
Daughter, you are healed, no longer bound to a yoke a slavery.
Words like these are for me.
Just as they were for so many who were both confronted and comforted when it was all on the table.
All the hurt, all the harm, all the hindrances to good.
All changed for better.
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
John 21:25 ESV
Their dilemma became their deliverance.
It’s the same with me.
I pray you as well.