The Lord Gives, the Lord Takes

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.’ In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22

Job, the righteous, upstanding man of God, had just lost everything but his wife: livestock, livelihood, servants, children. All he had worked for, and all that would be easy to live for, was gone, in one day, yet Job fell on his knees and worshiped. How could this be an immediate response to the shock and breathless sorrow of losing all this? What prevented him from lashing out in anger, blame, confusion, inexplicable grief, or even crying out in anguish and questioning? Job was a man who feared and revered holy God, who knew He was LORD Who owned everything, and himself merely flesh who had no right to anything. His hope and sure foundation were grounded not in man or possessions, but in His Redeemer. His true wealth and sovereign preference was God, his value and treasure and identity in Him.

The freedom in acknowledging, and living it to be true, that God owns everything, and all we have is from Him, is that when it is taken away, it is well with our souls. We may say we know we are only stewards, our children are a gift from Him, and every grace and ability is bestowed by Him, but the test of whether we really believe these things is when He takes them back, when we are called to relinquish them and trust His goodness. Does the pain of the fire prove us true? (Psalm 50:10; 127:3; 1 Corinthians 4:2,7; 10:26)

Rough Gulf w waves

At what altars do I worship? That of children, grandchildren, security, material beauty? To what rights do I cling? Right to comfort, self-rule, self-defense, my time, my plans for our family and future ‘because I have been faithful’? In order to get me to a place of intimacy and full identity with Him, God may strip away what I claim as mine to get me to the point of singular devotion to Him, of being solely satisfied in Him. He rules all with sovereign wisdom and goodness, and is in loving pursuit of my whole heart every day. Will I choose to cherish and bless nothing but His name?

“If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; and if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him.” ~Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.            
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. It is well, it is well, with my soul.”  ~Horatio Spafford (1873)

Lord, You are a bountiful and gracious Giver. And You are also bountiful and full of grace when You take away. Help me accept and rejoice in this, and no matter what comes, exalt Your glory.

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