Do you have a hard time accepting generous offers from others? How about from God?
The prayer of Jabez seems to come out of nowhere in 1 Chronicles 4:10 (NIV), which reads as follows:
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘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 God granted his request.
I remember when I first started reading about this verse. My first thought? What a selfish prayer! But is it really? Does not God want to give wonderful gifts to His children? So why should we be surprised when one comes our way?
But what if we don’t feel we deserve it? And how do we really know if it’s from God or not? All those questions came flowing through my mind at a continuous pace one day. Let me backtrack a bit.
As I wrote about in But Does That Mean We’re Giving Up On God?, we had finally broken down and gotten Jeffrey a power wheelchair. But we were still in a quandary because whenever we traveled with him, we had to bring him in his manual wheelchair because we had no way to transport his power chair. So we decided to start looking into purchasing a wheelchair accessible van.
STICKER SHOCK!!! As I started researching them, I discovered new vans cost approximately $45,000 – and that was back in 2001! Clearly getting a new van was going to be out of the question. Even the used ones cost more than we could afford.
That knocked me into a state of depression. When Gary got home from work I informed him I needed “fast food” to make me feel better. I got it – but it really didn’t make me feel any better!
About a month later when I was leaving Bible study at church, I was heading out to my car, and all of a sudden I heard my name being yelled from one of the upstairs office windows. It was the head of the women’s ministries, and she asked me to come back inside for a few minutes.
When I got inside, she took me by the shoulders and said that she had heard from another gal at church about us looking for vans and how she thought we could use some assistance monetarily. So she had decided to contact the Good Samaritan Fund at the church to see about helping us get the van for Jeffrey.
Linda, take it… she said.
I was speechless and headed home in a fog. And then even before Gary arrived home from work that day I got a call from the man who headed up the Fund, who asked me how they could help.
I told the man that I just didn’t feel right about accepting assistance, but promised we’d pray about it, and if we changed our minds, we’d let him know. After all, I thought, we certainly weren’t destitute!
When Gary got home, he initially agreed with my assessment, but then after talking to one of his sisters started to wonder if we shouldn’t have accepted the offer after all.
I just couldn’t, however… After all, there’s too many really needy people who can certainly use the money more than we could. But questions starting hounding me: Am I turning down an offer of help that perhaps the Lord has put in our path? Did He really want to bless us with this help, and we turned it down, in effect snubbing His graciousness?
It’s hard to know sometimes, isn’t it?
But God’s love way surpasses our confusion. He provided another occasion months later, through another dear friend. More to come on this soon!