He Gives and Takes Away
Years ago, when I first began as the children’s director at our church, I was sitting with a small group of kids listening to worship music. One of the songs was “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman. The song talks about different times in our lives when you choose to bless his name. It’s easy to praise him when all is well, when life is “all as it should be”. But when everything is turned upside down, an aching heart doesn’t naturally seek to worship. I’ve often struggled with depression, so I easily identified with the imagery of a desert place, the wilderness, suffering, and darkness closing in. Every time we sang the song in church, it was all I could do to choke out “blessed be your name” by the end. Honestly, it wasn’t a favorite song of mine, but it was popular at the time.
And yet, I felt led to play the song for the kids. After the song finished, I asked the kids what they thought the words “he gives and takes away” meant. I wasn’t prepared for their answers. My adult view of those lyrics is that sometimes the Lord gives us good things and then takes them away from us to test us. In a world broken by sin, suffering and loss are common. Jesus himself said we would experience trouble in this world (John 16:33). My intent was to teach the kids that just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean life would be easy and the sacrifice of praise we could choose in the midst of suffering.
But after considering the question, those precious kids spoke healing words to my soul that I will never forget:
He takes away the bad things and gives us good things.
He takes away loneliness and gives us friends and family.
He takes away sadness and gives us joy.
He takes away sickness and gives us health.
He takes away our sin and gives us eternal life.
Never once had I heard such a sweet message in that song. Don’t ever underestimate children’s ability to be led by the Spirit!
Below is a list of priceless gifts from scripture that the Lord gives to us:
Psalm 16:11 Joy
Psalm 68:5-6a Father to the fatherless; puts lonely in families
Psalm 147:3 Healing for the brokenhearted
Psalm 103:10-11 Steadfast love
Isaiah 41:10 Strength
Matthew 11:28 Rest
John 3:16-17 Salvation
John 14:27 Peace
Romans 8:26 An intercessor
Ephesians 4:7 Grace
2 Timothy 1:7 Sound mind
James 1:5 Wisdom
1 John 5:11-12 Life
I pray that no matter the season of life you’re in, the Lord will use these words of hope to encourage you today.