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There are moments in our lives that create opportunities for us to grow. Sometimes those opportunities are beautiful and bring a rush of joy and excitement… but most of the time, those moments are hard.
It’s the hard moments that either grow our faith or uproot us. We either choose to dig in and stay strong, or we give up and let our circumstances blow us around leaving us battered, bruised, and lifeless at the end of our storm.
We can either learn the lesson of the storm, or we experience another storm similar the previous one in order to finally learn the lesson God is trying to teach us.
These storms come in many forms- a broken or strained marriage, a financial crisis, the sudden loss of a loved one, a physical illness, children who have strayed from the faith, or an unexpected diagnosis.
But remember, dear friends, we are not alone.
God has included the account of Job in His Word for our benefit, as our reminder that we are not the only ones to experience storms. It is a reminder that we are not the only ones who have walked this path. Job is God’s gentle reminder that someone else has had it worse.
Job experienced the great losses of his riches, family, and health. Everything he owned was taken away from him stripping him of his wealth. His children were all killed when the home they were in fell on top of them, crushing them. Job himself was struck with a disease which caused his body to break out in boils. He was in such pain he wished he had never been born. Yet, in his storm, instead of cursing God, he chose to say, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
And those are not easy words to say…
I began thinking about Job soon after Mom went home to be with the Lord. She was no longer here, but, as I thought of my loss, I felt the ever-present movement of a little person who would be making an appearance exactly two weeks after her passing.
My storm was struggling with the whys of my mother’s passing. Mom was still in her 50’s. She was going to be a grandmother for the first time. My mom was one of the most faithful followers of Christ that I knew. She was the kind of woman who would change her plans if we needed her. I couldn’t understand why God would allow her die at the time when I needed her the most.
This was my time to either stand firm in my faith in God and His sovereignty or let the storm beat me down and shred my faith.
After our daughter, Addie, was born, the thought that “He gives and takes away” kept going through my mind. My mother was gone, yet I had been given the beautiful gift of a baby girl.
My cousin, Lisa, had given us a DVD from the Praise Baby Collection (highly recommend!). One of the songs on the DVD was the praise chorus “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord”. I would sit with my baby, move her hands to the music, and sing along… until it came to the lines “He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away, My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name.”
Then I would stop.
Until one day as I was washing out bottles at the kitchen sink and the DVD was playing. I stopped washing, and I forced myself to sing those lines.
Yes, it was a struggle, and, yes, I cried the whole time I sang. But after that first time of forcing myself to verbally acknowledge God’s sovereignty in my situation, I was able to sing those lines without crying. Now when I hear that song, those lines remind me of my response to the storm. It has become “our song”- a song with a special meaning between my Heavenly Father and me.
God does give, and He does take away, but we have to choose in our hearts to bless His name in the storm, regardless of our agreement with His decisions. God is sovereign and all-knowing. He understands the “whys” so much better than we do. Eventually, He allows us to see glimpses of His purposes and reasons, but He is not required to.
He is God, and I am not.
And my heart does choose to say, Lord, blessed be your name.