I’m sitting here, watching the rain fall and giving myself a lunch break from work. If you know me at all, you know that there are simply times that I must write. This is one of those times.
We’ve had a rough week of sickness here in the Duffer household. Fortunately it only lasts a day or two, but it’s taking it’s time to get around to everyone. Most everyone is doing much better, but it’s hanging on for a couple of my crew.
When you are fighting illness, it is easy to get discouraged about other things as well. When you are fighting illness, you don’t have the energy to fight for joy, to battle depression, to fight against fear. We’ve all been there.
What do you do with a broken spirit, a fearful mind, a hurting soul?
I find myself worried about my job–about our company losing its contract. I love my job. I know it is a gift to me from God. I pray that He allows me to keep it. I enjoy the people I work with and the work that I do. But I am fearful–what if He takes it away from me? How will I provide for my family? What would we do?
I find myself aching for the loss of my marriage with every letter I receive from my ex-husband. With every ornament we hang on the tree. How could God have given me the gift of marriage to who I thought was my best friend, only to have it shattered like a dropped mirror? I mourn this loss, especially here at Christmas time.
I find myself hurting over broken friendships. Friends that I feel God has brought into my life, but have now that friendship is tattered. And I implore God as to why He would allow this pain and abandonment, even in the midst of requesting forgiveness and reconciliation. I don’t understand.
I find myself mourning the loss of my health, and angry that I’ve done this to myself. And a lack of motivation to do the things I know to do, in order to regain that health. Not being healthy makes fighting these other things just that much harder.
I find myself worried about my children. They are doing great, but I can tell they are worn down. It’s time for another prison visit, they are asking for one and I’ve promised them that when they ask, I will make it happen. So we need to make a visit before Christmas. This time my oldest girl wants to join us. That is both an encouragement and breaks my heart because I know she aches for her father just as much as the other three do.
Why do I share all of this? For one critical reason. We all have things in our lives that we don’t understand. That make us fearful, or discouraged. Sad or worried. This world is a broken world, and in a broken world, our lives will not reflect the perfectness of God’s perfection until we see Him face to face in heaven. However, there is a verse that is truth. It’s a hard truth; hard to swallow. But if you–and I–can ingest this verse and let it feed us as only scripture can do, then we can come to a more settled place that all may not be right with our world, but God sees and knows and has not stopped working.
This is a verse that Job uttered after he had lost nearly everything–his children, his livestock, his servants, etc. He spoke truth in this terrible, hard moment–truth that we need to speak as well:
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. This is truth. All that we have is from God. It belongs to God. And God can take it away. I don’t understand why He does. I don’t dare to even guess or assume. To do so would be a sin I believe. Plus a person could lose their mind trying to figure out the why behind what God does. Rather, I must wrestle with the fact that this is truth. Job’s statement is truth, and God meant for us to know it or else it wouldn’t be in scripture.
But here’s the kicker: Blessed be the name of the Lord. Regardless. In times of great encouragement and in times of weeping. In times of friendship and in times of abandonment. In times of financial security and in times of financial disaster. His name is to be blessed, because He is God. He is God and we are His children. He loves us.
And so, today as I sit here and get ready to return to work, and as I listen to the rain gently falling on my skylight, I ask God for the strength to be able to say with Job: The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. For I know He is nothing but good. He is nothing but wise. He is nothing but Holy and Just. His ways are not my ways. And I would rather be in His hands, then standing in this world apart from Him.