The day I am writing this, my husband and I were just on a flight earlier from the same airport where I worked over 30 years ago when the events I described in my meditation took place. We had three pieces of checked luggage between the two of us, and thankfully we all arrived at our destination together—a blessing I am truly grateful for.
A lot has changed over the years. I left that job when I got married and relocated to where my husband was working at the time. Since then, we’ve moved several times, and each time I’ve had to trust God with the provision of suitable employment. God has not disappointed me. Each job, and the way each opportunity came about, is its own testimony and might one day become a future meditation.
The airport itself suffered almost complete destruction during the passage of Hurricane Irma in 2017. It is still in the process of being rebuilt and rebounding while trying to be as fully operational as possible. Like me, many of my former coworkers have moved on into other spheres of work and life, either locally or overseas. Incredibly, though, several of my previous coworkers are still working there. It is always a real joy to see them and reminisce about “the good ole days” whenever I’m passing through the airport.
In my meditation, I talk about Jabez and the bold audacity of his prayer. In 2004, someone I did not know personally gave me a book about the prayer of Jabez, and it turned my prayer life upside down. I began inserting my own name as I prayed the petition recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:10: “[Arlene] called on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory and that your hand might be with me and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!’ And God granted what [s]he asked” (NRSVUE).
All this time, I’ve continued to experience many “Jabez-related” moments. For example, in May of last year during a women’s meeting, one sister led the devotions from 1 Chronicles 4:10. Afterward, I shared with the group how this was one of my favorite verses of scripture and the impact the book had made on me. Two days later, I received an email from The Upper Room indicating that today’s meditation had been chosen for publication. “God incidents” like these always make me say that God has a sense of humor and impeccable timing.
There’s a phrase I use a lot: Be careful what you pray for; you might just get it. I have no doubt that God has been granting what I ask as I pray like Jabez did. And if this experience writing for The Upper Room is any indication, I know God’s not finished with me yet. I believe that too often we limit God by the way we limit our thinking, our asking, our praying. God is the God of everything and is pleased to bring us into the wide expanse of God’s kingdom to experience the full extent of the blessings in store for us. I can’t wait to see what God has lined up next for me next!
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.