We were worshiping God. Christians were singing. Some were clapping hands with the rhythm. I do not remember being struck by the words before, yet this morning the words of the song struck my heart. “You give and take away. You give and take away. But my heart will choose to say, Blessed be Your name.” I wondered.
As I later searched YouTube I found various versions of this Matt Redman song, “Blessed Be Your Name.” In some there was clapping. Sung with pep. Maybe it is my age, the generational thing. (I am not a clapper.) I wondered. Do we understand what we are singing? Do we know the original context of “You give and take away”?
Job received word that all had been destroyed—his servants, all his livestock, and worst of all, all his children. In grief he tore his robe and shaved his head. In the midst of his grief he fell to the ground and worshiped God. “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21).
“In the land that is plentiful, where Your streams of abundance flow.” When “every blessing You pour out.” “When the sun’s shining down on me, when the world’s ‘all as it should be’.” “You give.” “Blessed be Your name.” “I’ll turn back to praise.” “Blessed by Your glorious name.”
I wonder. Are these the only words most people hear? Do we also hear the praise coming out of the depths of grief, rising from a broken heart? “Though there’s pain in the offering, Blessed be Your name.”
“When I’m found in the desert place. Though I walk through the wilderness.” “When the darkness closes in.” “On the road marked with suffering.” “You give and take away.” You take away! “But my heart will choose to say, Blessed be Your name…Your glorious name.”
Singing this song this morning I did not want to clap or be excited. In my heart the words struck me in their expression of the struggle of faith in the midst of suffering, loss, and pain. When the world is NOT all as it should be. In this faith struggle will my heart choose to praise God, to pray, to sing, “Blessed be the name of the Lord”?
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.” Job considered all of his blessings to be from the Lord. “You give.” When his children were killed in a storm, when all of his possessions were destroyed, when he was brought to the depths of suffering, to the pain of grief, he considered it all to be God’s doing. “You take away.” Yet his heart chose to praise the Lord. “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
As we sang these words praising God, I wonder? In the song we were praying to the Lord. Did we know we were telling the Lord, even when the darkness closes in and suffering overwhelms our lives, our hearts will still choose to say, “Blessed be Your name”? Did we know Lord? We were saying to You, “When there is pain, a heart broken with grief, Lord we will still offer up praise, ‘Blessed be Your name.’”