Not again, this can’t be happening, when will this ever end?
Will I ever have a reason to laugh?
Can this shame ever go away?
I honestly did not want to go for the interview to get recruited into the army because I had tried many times with repeated failure. Considering the level of poverty in the house, I decided to give it a shot, afterall; I would have nothing to lose, well except for the mockery I would have to endure if I lose again.
When my name was called to go in to see the panel, I could hear people whisper and giggle amongst themselves, they all wondered why I kept trying. The panelist could not help themselves but pass funny comments like, “so tell us, Jabez, this is your 20th trial or what?”
I thought to myself, how funny, if this is my 20th attempt, then I must have been trying even before I was born. I was forced to wait for the announcement of the result. At that point, I tried to remember all the stories surrounding how God led my ancestors out of Egypt, fed them with manna, etc. Honestly I prayed and confessed His promises and I promised to serve Him more if He could do it for me…..
After announcing all the names of those that qualified, my eyes were filled with hot tears. Just as I was about to leave, one of the General screamed my name and said, “Hey, Jabez, don’t ever apply for this job again. Do you ever succeed in anything?”Every one burst into laughter. I walked out of the square hoping the floor will open up and swallow me.
I ran to my corner in the house and cried my eyes out.
What is it with me?
Am I the only one that has to suffer so much misfortune and pain?
I try to please God, I pray about this exam, different job interviews etc., yet I do not achieve success, rather I fail outrightly.
First my mother gave me this terrible name which has remained as a stigma, many people even my family members treat me like I was the one that killed her because she died not long after my birth. My father has lost his mind, my kindred are scattered everywhere serving other people. It is so bad that during town meetings, they would skip my family’s roll call.
Oh Lord, I try to please you, worship you, attend the meeting in the tabernacle, obey your laws, what else am I to do?
In the midst of all these, it started to rain and voila, the rain came hard on me as the roof of the house is bad. My brothers are probably somewhere begging or sleeping too. I cried to bed, well, that was the best way to sleep as I did not have food to eat.
The next morning, I woke up, prayed and walked down the road to wait for anyone in need of cheap labour. I waited all day and all to no avail. Just as I walked home, wondering what is left to live for in this world, I met with the High priest, who happens to be the only one that believes in me or maybe that is part of his job- to believe in people, because I do not know what he sees in me. He invited me to come to his house.
Wow, I can’t remember the last time I had such great meal. Then he started talking to me about God and His love for us. At that point, I had to say something. “Excuse me sir, but if God truly loves us and made me, why am I suffering like this? Why is He punishing me for what I know nothing about? I have heard a lot about the wonders He did in the past but at times I am tempted to doubt it because I wonder why He isn’t helping me? Sir, I am tired and I am at the verge of giving up totally on life and maybe join my dad in his partial insanity”.
“Hmmmmmm, Jabez, I see and I understand your pain. I wish I had answers to all your questions but this I know, God is faithful and He never fails. If He could save Rahab and bless her household, how much more you, who is a covenant child. The question is, do you trust HIM, do you believe He listens to you when you pray? Are you praying or complaining because there is a difference my son. Do you just read and listen to the wonders He did for your forefathers or do you believe He can do same and much more for you. Above all, you cannot say that you are praying or claim to trust Him and act defeated. Jabez my son, your ATTITUDE is key, act like the answer you seek from God. Stop fighting with the very one that can save you, there is a purpose for all that happens to us”.
I honestly did not know when I fell on my knees and cried, the High priest took me by the hand and prayed with me. For the first time, I realized that the key of the change that I seek is in my hands and tongue. I ran home and hid myself in the corner. I started to remind myself about the miracles God did in the past, starting from Father Abraham to the story of the Red sea, Jericho etc. before I knew it, I was overwhelmed with this supernatural Joy, Faith and Peace. Then I started to pray, not out of fear but out of LOVE and TRUST that God is able to do greater things than He did in my ancestors’ life. Then I remembered that one’s relationship with God is a personal thing, so I opened my mouth and said this prayer from my heart, at a point, I sang it, 1st Chronicles4:9
“Oh! That you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain”
And there was a great silence…
The next morning, I woke up excited, I got all the insults as usual from people and friends but I did not allow it get to me, I just MUTED their mics. All I was doing was singing my prayer. Before the end of the day, I saw proofs that God answered my prayers. I was employed to manage the King’s business. Things I could not achieve on my own in years, I achieved in weeks by the blessing of God. The General that once mocked me, now reports to me. What a life!
Now my name is mentioned in the Bible, my prayer has birth a lot of books and is a source of encouragement to different generations.
I beseech you to encourage yourself in the Lord regardless of what you are going through and let God use your situation to create miracles that will bless generations to come. Do not give up, customize your own prayer today, act like you have the answer already, encourage someone just like the Highpriest did and trust God again.
If your story is going to be added to the bible, what will you want people to read, what impact will you like to make… whatever your answer is, live it because your life is a Bible that people read and the Jesus that people see.
Watch out for the next #untoldstory series. I love you all. You can reach me on @imisisulaiman or email@example.com