The Lord Gives and the Lord Takes Away

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the Name of the Lord
Job 1:21

Her husband and I stood at her bedside. She looked up at me with tear filled eyes and said, “Why did God take my child?” Her first child lived but a few moments following birth, her words implying it was God’s fault. These many years later I can’t recall what words I may have shared with her. I do recall taking her hands in mine and with her husband laying his hand on ours, I said, “This is just awful!” The anguish was real.

Her question sent me searching for answers. I pulled out my seminary Analytical

Concordance of the Bible and looked up the Hebrew word used in Job 1:21, laqach, discovering it has two meanings. One is to take, and the other is to receive.” When scholars were editing the Bible, they chose the first meaning. When read that way, no wonder the young woman was so anguished. But when you read that passage with the second meaning, “The Lord gives and the Lord receives,” there is all the difference in the world. I do believe that God is the giver, the Creator of life, God is the redeemer of life, and that God blesses life. I do not believe God takes life from us, but I do believe God receives back the life that God has created. I didn’t have that understanding to share with that grieving young woman; but now, whenever I have the opportunity, I do my best to strike down this myth that God takes away. No,! God is the giver of life and when life cannot be sustained in our present bodies, God receives that life back onto God’s own self. Thanks be to God!

Paul Graf
Retired Moravian Minister
Moravian Bishop