“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” ~Job 1:21 (KJV)
I have heard several variations and also many misquotes of this verse for many years. I never particularly liked it. It seemed so cold and callous. I would envision God up in Heaven dangling things and people I loved before me, just to snatch them away again. I especially felt that way after my two miscarriages. During those times, well-meaning believers would quote that verse to me in an effort to encourage me. It had the opposite effect. Instead of making me feel closer to God, that verse made me feel more alienated from Him. I was angry and devastated that not only had He not spared me the pain of losing my babies, but it was His will to take them from me. Why would a loving God purposely cause me so much pain?
I believed every word I read in the Bible. I just didn’t like everything I read.
Lately, this verse keeps popping up everywhere. Articles and blog posts I read. Bible studies and devotionals. It won’t leave me alone. So, instead of allowing myself to run away from it, I have faced this verse, head-on. I prayed on it, I researched it, and now I feel I understand it a little better.
I’ve been focusing on the wrong part of the verse.
Yes, sometimes it is God’s will to take things away from us. Sometimes it’s people we love, or may have grown to love. Sometimes it’s a dream we had that will never come to be. Sometimes it’s the loss of a relationship, or a job, or our choice of college, or anything we’d thought would be important to our happiness. We feel the pain and wonder why God has forsaken us. Worse yet, we wonder why God chose to not just allow it to happen but also to make it happen.
Sometimes that’s where we get stuck, on that one part of the verse, because the pain blinds us to the rest of it. The hope comes in the next part of the verse. God does take things away, but He also gives.
Every good gift comes from Him. Our very lives, our salvation, His Son…His love for us is so lavish and abundant, but we often don’t see past what we have lost and forget all we have gained. He allows storms to come but He holds us in the eye of the hurricane. We may feel forsaken but we’re not. Not for a single moment of our lives, even if we are the one pushing Him away.
I have so much more to learn about my God and His amazing ways. I am looking forward to continuing this journey in this cool and crazy world with my Savior by my side. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Whatever it is, I hope I will handle it with the grace and submission I should.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.