The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, June 22, 2022 comes to us from Arlene Henry of St Maarten.
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." 10 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.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NIV
When I worked as an airline service agent, I would frequently help people find their missing luggage. However, I noticed that over time, the airport accumulated suitcases and personal belongings that were left behind. Those items would sit in our storage area, sometimes for months, unclaimed by anyone despite our efforts to alert other airports and airlines worldwide. It seemed as if no one had ever filed a missing baggage report. And the owners never got the pleasure of being reunited with those personal effects, some of which appeared to be quite valuable or sentimental.
I thought of those unclaimed items as I read 1 Chronicles and wondered. Do we sometimes miss out on God’s blessings because we fail to ask? Perhaps we think we are undeserving or insignificant. But the book of James says that whatever we lack might be because we don’t ask or we ask wrongly. (Jas. 4:2-3). In today’s reading, Jabez was not hesitant about asking God to bless him in very specific ways, and God granted his requests. I want to be bold like Jabez. I want to confidently ask God to bless me. I want to believe that my Creator desires to bless me lavishly. All the while, I hope to remember that all blessings are given in accordance with God’s will and divine purpose.
I must confess that I have never considered asking God for particular blessings boldly. I have prayed for healing, for direction, for solutions to particular difficulties, but never about special blessings for myself. Arlene Henry’s reflection shows me that I have been selling God short; my understanding of God’s grace has been too narrow. God’s blessings are abundant and generous for each of us; we are blessed to ask God for blessings, even for ourselves. I invite you to consider what blessings you might seek from God intentionally– even boldly.
Dear Lord, thank you for all the ways that you bless us. Help us to speak the desires of our hearts to you and trust in your purpose. Amen.
Airline Workers and Passengers
Thought for the Day:
I can ask God for my heart’s desires.
Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32 (NRSV)