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.