I wrestled through the night with God as He showed me something I needed to give. I argued that this wasn’t what I wanted. As I struggled, the words of Job kept ringing in my ear, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away….”
Quite honestly, this is not one of my favorite Scripture passages. However, it was clear that God wanted me to spend more time here because as I opened my Lectio Divina study the next morning, guess what passage was presented? Job 1:21:
Naked I came into this world and naked I will depart.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
These were Job’s sobering words following the loss of his income, his assets, and, most profoundly, the loss of all of his children. In this prayer, Job bolsters his faith during life-altering times by affirming what is true. He remembers the greatness of God and puts his life in perspective.
How Job’s Prayer Becomes Our Own
As I continued to ponder this, I just couldn’t image how in the face of disaster, Job could wrap with, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” What I was being asked to give up wasn’t nearly as great and yet I was struggling. I wasn’t at peace. Even Job’s prayer made me uncomfortable. Why?
I read Job’s words over and over again and began to see that the prayer in reverse is a very practical application. It became clearer to me why I was struggling. In the night, I’d sensed God inviting me to gratitude and surrender but I didn’t want to do it. Now, here it was in Job’s prayer.
Here’s how we can approach Job’ prayer as our own:
Blessed be the name of the Lord. God invites us to begin by offering a prayer of gratitude. I felt like I was to ask Him to search my heart and reveal places where I was not grateful. Our gratitude is praise, blessing the name of the Lord. Joy emerges from praise. It’s hard to be grumpy and grateful at the same time!
The Lord takes away. Next, God invites us to offer a prayer of surrender, even asking Him to search our heart to reveal places where we are unwilling to give control to Him. Surrendering casts our lot with God and sets forth our dependence upon Him. Peace blankets our hearts as we surrender.
The Lord gives. Finally, God invites us to offer a prayer of faithfulness in response to His giving. Ask God what He wants you to pick up. What does He want you to notice now that your hands are free? It may be a surprise! Expecting that He gives good gifts to His children, ask for courage to take the simple steps of obedience towards God.
Gratitude and surrender go together
Naked? The reality is that eventually it is all given away. The wise Corrie ten Boom used to say “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
I’m learning that when I make gratitude a habit, surrender comes more easily. Gratitude brings joy. Surrender brings peace. When I give, my hands become free and I’m able to pick up the next adventure.