Turning Your Pain Into Gain

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Billy Graham was in a revival some years ago.  There was a man there, who had gone through many problems and difficulties. When the invitation to Christ was extended he accepted Christ as his savior.  Soon his life began to change and he felt like he could overcome whatever came his way.  So after the blessings of God manifested in his life he sat down and began to write:

It is no secret what, God can do!

What he’s done for others, He’ll do for you!

With arms wide open, He'll pardon you

This text serves as a testament of those words, for it shows each of us that God blesses those who seek and trust Him. We find here, buried in the genealogies of the Old Testament, a man called Jabez. Little is known of this biblical character. He seems to be misplaced here in this verse coming from nowhere and headed for somewhere. He comes in at verse nine and leaves at verse eleven, two verses, and yet there is something more, there is a substance, and solitude to this man.

In his obscure existence, we may each find a lesson on life. His mother calls him Jabez, because he was born with much sorrow.

In the days in which he was born, they took considerable time naming a child. Names have meaning, and so the name of Jabez signifies what his mother thought when she named him. Jabez in the Hebrew means “One who causes pain.” How would you like to go through life being known as one who causes pain?

It is so often, tragic, what parents do to their children. The harsh words, the painful memories of childhood, some have endured, being told they will not amount to anything in life.

Imagine having a name that brings back unpleasant memories, Jabez, one who causes pain, and if he grew up with the type of children I grew up with he probably would have walked in the classroom and seen a bottle of Tylenol, Bayer, or Aspirin sitting on his desk. When pain comes take one! Here comes pain! Here comes pain! Imagine being made fun of or told by others you were nothing but a pain.

I want you to listen well today, because some of us need to break out of the living we’re in, and experience the pleasure God wants to bring.  First of all realize…

I.                    Your Past Does Not Have to Determine Your Present.

You can live with the name and the reputation that name makes for you, or you can decide to live the way God determined. I have resolved to live the greatest life I possibly can, to look for the good in life instead of looking at the pain.  About three years ago, my mother-in-law said something to me that helped me to exercise this method.  I was telling her that I had some traumatic experiences in the past.  She responded so eloquently with a three-word interrogative. She said, “Okay who hasn’t.” and when I thought about that I found out what she was saying nicely was, “GET OVER IT!!!” I submit to you today that perhaps there is someone here right now who needs to get over some things, get over what people used to do to you, what people said about you, what you did not deserve, what you should have received GET OVER IT!!  The reason many of us miss opportunities in life is because we have our backs turned to the door of the future and our eyes are on nothing but the past. 

Everybody suffers, everybody has problems, and we all have pains.  The question though is, how are we going to deal with it?  If everybody dwelled on their past, nothing would be achieved we would all be stuck.  And I’m afraid that is what has occurred with many of us.  We have allowed our past Traumas to cause us present day Drama.    

Look the Bible says in:

  • Psalm 139 ...that I am fearfully and wonderfully made…
  • Jeremiah 29:11 says I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future. 

In other words God has a purpose for you. It is up to you to find out what God wants you to do!

I resolved in my mind, not to wallow in the past but to live today.

We need to be optimistic about our lives. Consider the little boy, Michael. Michael was a fifth grader, who decided to run for president of the student council. During the “campaign,” Michael and his little brother went to the pediatrician for a checkup. The doctor, saw the campaign buttons, and said that he had run for president of the student council when he was in the sixth grade, but he lost. A few days later, Michael called his mom with the election results.  He said, “Well mom, it looks like I’m going to be a doctor!”

What a way to look at life. Even in the midst of dilemma, and setbacks you should see triumph and success in your future!

How are you going to live today? Your past does not have to determine your future. You can start today to reject the labels of the past, walk pass the lies others have developed around you, not wallow in the legacy of someone else’s plans for you. You can decide today to live the life God has ordained for you, not someone else.  Decide by understanding…

II.                   Your Present does not have to determine your future.

Jabez had things to overcome in his life. First we know he had to overcome his name, Jabez, the one who causes pain. It also says he was more honorable than his brothers. How many of you have experienced sibling rivalry? Jabez was elevated above his brothers, it is an indication, that there might well have been this rivalry-taking place in his life.

I have twelve brothers and sisters…how many of you know there is rivalry there? Most of us were quite athletic, especially in basketball and track. Back in the days, my sister Le’ Krishna (buddhi) was always good for being picked last. Our house was a shrine of all kinds of awards, trophies and ribbons.

You know, sometimes, words don’t have to be spoken concerning your inability, to succeed in an endeavor. Every time she walked past those awards, she was reminded, she didn’t measure up. Some of you know what I am talking about. Now she could have resigned herself to being a failure.

See, I’ve learned you may not be good at something but don’t give up, because you are great at something else. You just have to discover what that something else is. She learned music. She taught herself to play the piano. She worked on it. She decided she was not going to allow her present to determine her future. Now she has skills and abilities none of us have. She received a scholarship to LSU and graduated with honors.

We played sports for fun, and she played the piano for fun, and also for pay.
The benefits, which came from her using her talents, far exceeded mine. Had she allowed her present situation of being non-athletic to not drive her to discovering what she was good at, she would have missed a lot in life.

Jabez did not pray for God to just help him make it through, he prayed, Lord I pray that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my life, that your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from evil.
It might seem as though, life has handed you a lemon. Learn how to turn your lemon into lemonade.

Listen, your future has already been determined. Live your life by faith in Jesus Christ, and hold on to the promise God gives to those who He calls His own. You don’t have to let your present determine your future.

Let go and let God.
If you want to accomplish the purpose God has for your life, you are going to have to overcome some things. There is no gain without some sort of price, some pain. It is just a matter of how much you are wanting, how much you are willing to invest, how much you want to achieve in the realm God has planned for you.

This is not the time to give up; it is the time to get up.

Peter told the lame man, rise up and walk. Have you been lamed by life. Then get up, take the Jabez challenge, arise above the circumstances of your life and walk into the promise of God.

III.               God will change your Pain into Gain.

You can change the outside of the package and it will not change what is inside. We spend a lot of time doing that. Jabez prayed from the heart. It wasn’t a long drawn out affair. He got right to the point. It was as if he was saying, God, I want to break out of this rut and I know the only way I can do it is if you will bless me.
Jabez prayed, oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory.

Someone said we have decaffeinated the word blessing. Taking the punch out of it. In the Hebrew Jabez would be shouting, Oh God bless me indeed. Blessing is the supernatural favor of God in our life; it is God doing something for us, which we could not do for ourselves. It is asking God to open the windows of heaven and pouring out a blessing. When is the last time you looked back and said I can see where God took my pain and turned it into gain?

You need to take the Jabez challenge.
Your troubles have not come to stay, they will pass if you get a hold of the supernatural power of God, if you step out in faith believing God will bless and enlarge your territories. God has more blessing for your life than you can image if you will just, put your faith and trust in Him.

  • James 4:2 says you have not because you ask not.
  • Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. When we fail to ask we forfeit all those blessings, which come when we only ask.

When is the last time you asked? When is the last time you asked God to expand your horizon so you could have a greater impact for His kingdom? This is not a selfish prayer; this is a prayer to do more for the Kingdom, to do more for God.

God is ready to give you more than you have. God is waiting to provide you with the provisions you need to accomplish great things through you for His Kingdom.

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry every thing to God in prayer!

Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear!

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!


We have trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere!

We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer!

Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share!

Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer!

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