A man whose name meant “pain” dared to cry out to the Lord. He didn’t cry out in pain or despair or defeat; he cried out in hope and faith: “Oh, that You would bless me and expand my territory!” He was petitioning for a fresh wind to blow in and through his life. Jabez did not want to settle for anything less than divine provision and direction.
Jim Cymbala, pastor since 1971 of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, has written a number of books that reflect his conviction that God wants to do something great in and through the church. In The Church God Blesses, he wrote: “The Lord is eager to make spiritual changes among us and shower us with His blessings. He wants us – His people – to experience the greatness of His power and the depth of His love in a new way. All He needs from us is a listening ear and a heart that believes that with God all things are possible.”
He sounds like a modern Jabez. He dares to believe that God expects bold prayers and willing hearts from His people. In his book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, he tells the story of how the Holy Spirit exploded in a small, declining church through people who refused to believe that God was done with them.
Wieuca, it is time for a fresh wind to blow. It is a moment of opportunity to seek the deeper things of life in Christ. We must quit trying to fix things through human effort and ingenuity and pour our hearts out to God.
One of our staff members remarked in our weekly meeting that he was discouraged when he looked out at those gathered for worship. He saw folded arms and scowling faces. He said he thought, “How can I lead these people in worship? How can we experience God in such an atmosphere?”
Contrast that to the words of the psalmist: “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; He surrounds and defends all who fear Him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!” (Ps. 34:4-8)
Fresh wind, fresh fire. Oh, God that you would bless us to be the church You want us to be!