God Gives and Takes Away


“The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21b)

Job was a man who had been blessed by God. He had everything a man could want – a large family, many friends, a good reputation, lots of property, animals, health, and wealth. Most importantly, Job enjoyed close fellowship with his Creator. He knew that his blessings were direct gifts from God’s hand, and he was careful to give God the credit for all He had done for him.

Have you ever looked around and counted all your gifts from God? Maybe you have at Thanksgiving time, but hopefully you do it more often than just once a year! A grateful heart is usually a natural response to God’s rich blessings, and we are right to thank Him. We also ought to let God’s gifts teach us to trust Him as the great and good God that He is.

But what happens when God keeps back from you something that you really wanted? What if you have been praying for something important, and God seems to be saying “no”? What if God takes something away from you?

Job’s blessings were all taken away from him, and there did not seem to be any good reason why. Job had not bragged about deserving his gifts or earning God’s favor, but God decided to let Satan strike Job with disease and heavy losses. Job had not rebelled against God, but all his children were taken away from him. Job had not complained against God, but all his property was destroyed or stolen by robbers. Job had not failed to thank God for His gifts to him, and yet God gave Satan permission to take everything away from him – all his health, all his wealth, and most of his loved ones. Humanly speaking, it did not make sense for God to take everything back.

It is easy to trust a good and great God Who blesses us. But it can be hard to keep glorifying and praising God when He does something that hurts or surprises or confuses us. Has God ever taken something away from you or your family? A loved one? Your health? The money to go back to your Christian school?

What was Job’s response when God took everything away? He said, “Blessed be the name of the LORD.” God is the kind of God Who knows what He is doing, and He is still great and good. Even when we are confused and hurting after a loss, we can keep trusting in the good and great God Who always gives good and great gifts.

In the end, God provided great blessings for Job again. And He used the experience to teach Job a lesson. The lesson is that God has a right to give and to take away, and we can believe that no matter what happens, God will always be the good and great God He has always been. We can take everything that comes as from God’s hand.

Here is the last verse of a hymn that a Swedish Christian lady (Caroline Sandell Berg) wrote after she saw her father drown in a tragic accident:

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

Like Job, this woman saw that God had a big reason for taking her father away from her. She learned to say, “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Is God trying to teach you to trust Him as a God Who is always great and always good?

Sometimes God gives us blessings, and sometimes He takes them away; but He is always great and always good.

My Response:
» Am I grateful and faithful when God gives good gifts?
» How can I still show thankfulness and trust when God takes things away?