Give and Take

Job is my hero. And by Job, I mean the Biblical stalwart who suffered the loss of every one of his kids to nearly every possible disaster, and then he was made to suffer miserable boils on his skin. And yet, after all of that, he didn’t turn his back to God. I love this guy. I wish I could have been friends with him – seriously. I’ve always loved the book of the Bible with his namesake and poured over it endlessly all my life. My favorite quote from the book, I would have to say is in the second half of verse 21 in chapter 1: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Here’s a guy who has literally lost everything: sons, daughters, land, money, dignity, and his own health. His nearly immediate response is to acknowledge that the Lord has every right to take away, just as much as He decides to give to us, and then he praises God’s name in that fact. I’ve always tried to relate and have such an attitude as much as that is possible, but I always had to scrounge for situations in my own life that could even fit in the same universe as what Job experienced. I wanted to be someone who would praise God even when the worst imaginable thing happened. God finally gave me the opportunity to try. And, as with everything these days, I find out just how immeasurably small my contribution to my own life actually is.

I remember vividly when the music minister from my church came to be with me in the hospital. I had just found out devastating news. Through tear-flooded eyes, I looked up at him with the only response that made sense to me: “I want to worship God. Can you lead me in that?” He faithfully obliged. I want to be clear: this was not some sort of character strength of mine or some such claim that I’m devout or a great Christian or anything like that. This was a NATURAL response. And by “natural” I mean “supernatural,” as in the Holy Spirit in me created this spiritual response that I couldn’t ignore. I had to praise. It was literally the only thing that made sense, and it still is. God gave me a wife and beautiful marriage. He allowed that to be taken away. Praise His name. I wish I could describe the feeling that wells up inside of me as I say that. There is nothing more true to me than the Lord’s praises when I think about His involvement in this and His taking my wife away.

For whatever reason, it was only yesterday that I remembered that Job said that. I have felt his words for the past month or so, but forgot that he expressed it exactly as I felt it. And then tonight, I got to worship at a church that I attended for the first time where we sang “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.” In that song, it says, “He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, ‘Lord, blessed be Your name.'” I’m so glad I was there for that song, and I’m sure I’ve never sung it louder than I did tonight. It is the cry of my heart to declare His praises to the entire world. And if you’re reading this, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to do just that.

11 thoughts on “Give and Take”

  1. I love when Job questioned God. I think the people around him were wearing him down, and he started wrestling with human perception versus faith. In our humanness, we try to figure things out. As if we can figure out the mind of Papa! Papa responded by asking, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” I love how in our brokenness we sometimes tell Papa how WE think things should be done. It makes me chuckle.

    When I see how beautiful and wonderful my Papa is, that is when I understand how little I understand! So, I praise His name – through the tears.

    Papa, bless this man and his family. Show him Your goodness today. Spirit, hover over him like you hovered over creation in the beginning. Help him to be the man, the father, You created him to be. Be active within him and let your light, Jesus, shine through him today and forever.

  2. In your latest blog posting, you state:
    “It is the cry of my heart to declare His praises to the entire world. And if you’re reading this, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to do just that.” It boggles my mind that you are appreciative of our reading this, as it is ME, your reader, that is appreciative of your praising the Lord. You are an amazing person, and I am so blessed to have come to learn of you and your family!
    Love in Christ!

    1. I’m just so glad for people who care enough about me to read about my journey through all of this. And I’m so thankful you feel blessed. Praise God for the miracles He provides.

  3. Dear Brad,
    I have been following your blog for some time (I am a friend of a friend of Stephanie’s), and your words are beyond awe inspiring. Like another poster here, I feel blessed to have heard about you and your family.
    A friend in Christ,
    Beth H.

  4. Brad, what wonderful insight. Thank you for sharing this. I too felt a kinship to Job. His story was a great comfort to me.
    Right after my husband died, I remember feeling so overwhelmed. I had three small children who were grieving and confused. Just getting through the next minute, at times, was a hurdle. I found refuge in this song. I played it over, and over again in my car, every chance I got. I felt such a peace when I listened to it. I know God was speaking directly to me in the lyrics, assuring me I was taken care of and I was loved. I wanted to share it with you.

    May God continue to bless you Brad.

  5. Brad,

    I heard a radio program that mentioned Job the other day. You came to mind very quickly. I was there at the sermon where Brian mentioned visiting you and singing praises. It touched many so very much. Prayers to you and your family.


  6. Brad, every time I think of you or Stephanie my prayers are sent your way again. And I know God hears them. “Blessed be the name of the Lord” was sung at the Pioneer girls overnight while Stephanie was still in the hospital and I had to excuse myself from the crowd as it brought you both to mind. As the tears ran down my face, I still clung to the truth that “my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name.” Even when praise is a sacrifice, it is a choice that pleases God. Thank you for the reminder…

  7. Brad, I still cry just about every time I read your blog. It is so inspiring. It makes me wonder what MY response would be if I were in your situation. Your heart and attitude re-affirm to me that there is a God who love us and cares for us. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I think someone mentioned this in a comment elsewhere on here but I really think that at some point you should write a book. Your perspective would be very uplifting to anyone struggling with loss or hurt in their lives.

  8. Brad,
    I’ve been praying for you and the kids. I know as time goes on, the shock, hurt and pain might be overwhelming. Your words about Job are just amazing, but I had to chuckle just a little because when I mention the book of Job, to some of my co-workers, they cannot even pronounce his name or know this book exits! Amazing what people are missing in God’s word.

    God brought you to my heart tonight and I wanted to give you something to hold onto and bring you comfort. I don’t know if you’ve seen or heard of this young 7 yr old gospel singer, but she sings, “Amazing Grace” with such clarity, love and feeling, I listen to it over and over. She lost her mom to cancer in 2008.

    Always in my prayers.

  9. ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord’ was sung at our church the day after we buried my little brother, and you are absolutly right…He gives and takes away and my heart will choose to say BLESSED BE YOUR NAME!!!!! There is no hope outside of God and whatever he chooses to give me I will bless his name.

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