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.
Many people will recognize this verse known as the ‘Prayer of Jabez.’ Jabez in Hebrew means to grieve, or sorrow. Imagine the stigma that goes along with being named this. In effect every time someone called your name, you would be reminded that you caused your mother to grieve with pain.
You can see the emotional grief it caused him and his lack of self-image by the very end of his prayer “that I may not cause pain.” A lifetime of verbal bullying had beaten his self-image out of his belief system. An elderly friend of ours stated, that she despised bullying because it beat the identity out of a person’s character.
In the sentence above, “Now Jabez was more honorable than all his brothers.” Notice that they beat his self-image next to nothing but they could never beat down his Honor. He knew what pain felt like and he didn’t like it, and he didn’t want to cause it to others. But because of his belief system he believed that he had caused others much pain. This is what made his prayer so selfless, he wanted his borders increased so that he wouldn’t have to engage in battle and cause more pain.
There’s character built in suffering, I don’t think Jabez noticed it, but others did, and most importantly God did. King David perceived one day that God had established his kingdom, Jabez was established by God. How grateful he must have been when he noticed his prayers had been answered? Remember God is on your side.