Missed Part 1, you can find that here
A few years ago one of my friends sent me a text encouraging me to listen to a song by Shane & Shane, a song written about Job and a song that uses some of Job’s own words to minister to us. She encouraged me to watch the video on YouTube, not just listen to the song. Shane and Shane strip down the song and they strip down the message with simple guitars, wearing plaid shirts, jeans and a backwards baseball cap. Here are the opening lyrics of the song:
“I come God I come, return to the Lord, the One Who broken the One who’s torn me apart. You strike down to bind me up, you say you do it all in love that I might know you in my suffering.”
I quickly sent a text back to her indicating that I didn’t like her much. It was then and still is so hard for me to declare the truth of the lyrics that HE is the one that broke me. HE is the one that has torn me apart. HE is the one that strikes me down…but then the rest of the lyrics sink in…
“He strikes down to bind me up, He says He does it all in love, so that I may know Him in my suffering.”
And then I realized that for all that He has taken away He has given me a precious place of seeking Him and more importantly knowing Him in my suffering. And that is the giving part that Job expressed. He may have been referring to earthly things when he said “the Lord giveth” and certainly that is true, but I really believe that what he meant was that He gives us the opportunity to praise Him and to experience His tremendous Grace and comfort in times of great loss and unspeakable pain.
I have always focused on my loss and pain. I have always resigned myself to the stuff that was taken from me. I just figured God didn’t like me very much. Oftentimes, I fail to see that maybe He has chosen me for such loss that I might know Him in these sufferings. I have sometimes focused on my loss by helping other people, but have rarely addressed my confusion of all that He allowed to be taken from me. The list is endless, it seems. I did not have a “mom” but rather a person who gave me life. I never, as a child, had a chance of a normal life. I did not have an innocent childhood, because mine was stolen from me at age 7. I did not have a husband that loved me as he chose violence in our home. I do not have a healthy body indicative of my age. So, I struggle to fall to my knees and praise Him anyway, and I definitely struggle to see that for all that He has taken, He has also given me so much more.
He has given me a voice. He has given me a message. He has given me understanding that His power is demonstrated in my afflictions. He has given me friends (Job didn’t have such friends) that push me to Him and they still love me when triggers of the past affect them. He has given me gifts that if I choose to use them also highlights His power in my loss.
He has given me the opportunity to praise Him like Job did. All I have to do is choose to do so. The chorus of that Shane & Shane sound reverberates in my head even as I am writing this:
“Though You slay me, yet I will praise You, They You take from me, I will bless Your name, Though You ruin me, still I will worship, sing a song to the One Who is all I need. O Lord I am crying out let this cup pass from me, You are still more than I need, You are enough for me, You are enough for me”
And even as I hit the publish button, I wonder, do I really believe this? Job certainly did. John Piper is featured in the video and his words are so powerful and so true
“Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there, but all of it is totally meaningful every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature or fallen man every millisecond in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar sense of glory because of that…..of course you can’t see what it is doing, don’t look to what is seen…it is working for you an eternal weight of glory, therefore do not lose heart.”
The second verse of the song is just as powerful as the first:
“My heart and flesh may fail, the earth will all give way, with my eyes with my eyes I see the Lord. Lifted high upon that day behold the Lamb that was slain and I know every tear was worth it all”
It’s often been said that your spirit will reflect what your eyes see. And so I ask myself and I ask you, what do our eyes see? Do we see the Lamb that was slain so that every tear is worth it all?
Do we trust the One Who gave everything for us and while he “takes” from us, are we willing to focus on what He has given us? He gave us the Great Comforter in the Holy Spirit, He gave us His Word, He gave us access to Him, He gave us grace. He gave us each other.
Though he takes from us, will we bless his name?
Most days the jury is still out on that question for me. But I won’t give up because the Truth is the Truth, and the Truth will set me free to bless His name.