Do You Mean It?

One of the first worship songs I ever heard when coming back to the church years ago was “Blessed be Your Name.” The lyrics in that song go like this:

“You give and take away, 

You give and take away.

My heart will choose to stay,

Lord, blessed be your name.”

I’ve always thought about the part that goes “you give and take away,” and I have always been struck by the magnitude of the statement. If God is a God who gives AND takes away, do I mean it when I sing that I will choose to stay and bless His name, even when He takes away?

In the bible, there is a story of a man named Job who is rich and regarded highly by God. Satan argues with God saying that Job is only good because God has decided to bless him abundantly. It is then when God gives permission to the serpent to punish Job, and his only stipulation is that Job’s life is spared. The entire book continues and Job’s family, health, material goods, and home are taken away from him, not because of what he has done, but because God believes so highly in him that he allows the serpent to punish him and prove that Job is faithful and blameless. 

We see Job in states of agony, cursing the day he was born and comparing his circumstances to that of light and dark. But even so, he doesn’t once curse God’s name, despite the encouragement of all his friends. We all know the ending. God restores all that was lost over a period of time to Job and God continues to boast in his servant.

God gives Job favor. Even when Satan takes away from Job, God is still giving favor to His servant, sparing his life. Job stays anyway. Through pain, through heartache, through confusion and doubt.

You give and take away.

You give and take away.

My heart will choose to stay,

Lord blessed be your name.

Do you mean it?

I heard God asking me this question months ago. The question has been marinating in my heart for ages. Do I mean it when I worship? Do I mean it when I ask for Him to do something? Do I mean it when I sing about how He gives and takes away? Do I mean it when I tell Him that my heart will choose to stay despite the circumstances happening all around me? Do I mean it when I say I will bless His name anyway? 

A little while ago, I wasn’t quite sure I meant it, but I worshipped anyway.

Then the end of October hit like a strike in a game of bowling. A car crash on Halloween. It was the car I had just finished paying off in August, totally wrecked. I chose a car I felt comfortable in and received it within a week of the first crash. Within twenty-four hours of having it, I was involved in another automobile accident, this time only causing cosmetic damage to the front bumper... To the shop my new car went.

Rental car two in my grasp for a week, I returned a week later to my new car, hoping for the worst to be behind me. All was well until I turned on my car the last Sunday in November to a whirring sound and barely making it through a busy intersection in town. Many confirmed a transmission issue after church. A day later, my original dealer confirmed it, and into the shop the car went again.

My luck turned around five minutes after leaving a rental car lot for the third time. My new transmission had been installed and my (still new) car was ready to be picked up. The last day in November, my dad and I went to pick it up and I left the Nissan dealer feeling a sense of peace that this dry, arduously long, and frustrating season was over.

On my way home, I gave praise to God for all that He brought me through, meaning it when I told him He was still good, and thanking Him for the gift of people who surrounded me in support when I really needed it. 

Add to all that the stress of moving my belongings into a new home and watching the place I got to call home over the last year clear out like a crowd in a sporting arena; anyone in their right mind would call the last month a string of bad luck, but I don’t think it was that at all. I think it was actually a lesson on whether or not I really mean it when I say what I say and sing what I sing in church. 

Do whatever you have to in order to make me satisfied in You. 

I sang that at a prayer meeting the night I got my new car.

On my way home that night, the whisper sat in my spirit: Do you really mean it?

It’s easy to say we trust God when we’re comfortable, when money is constantly pouring in, when there are people who we can count on always around, when our control is in a straight line and change is always anticipated. But what happens when we’re uncomfortable? When money doesn’t pour in? What happens when the people you wanted to be there aren’t? What do you do when circumstances beyond your control continue to pour into your life like an avalanche? What happens when the change wasn’t anticipated and not what you expected? 

This is what I did: I chose to keep looking up in the uncomfortable and I saw God. I chose to believe that God would provide means to pay for a new transmission and He did. I chose to look at the people who were around when I needed them most as opposed to being disappointed in those who weren’t, allowing me to let go and set free the expectations I held over others. I chose to look at these bad circumstances in a way that opened my eyes to the blessings all around me and it realigned everything back to the truth that matters more than anything else I have.

What about you? Do you mean it?

I hope and pray you do because the adventure that unfolds when you begin to mean it is worth more than gold.