No doubt you’re familiar with the story of Job.
God permitted Satan to strip Job of his loved ones, his wealth and his health—all to prove the genuineness of his faith. The devil wasted no time ruining this godly man. Upon hearing the news he’d lost his family and possessions, Job famously responds, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
Our familiarity with this story makes us likely to gloss over Job’s otherworldly response to suffering. But imagine learning that, while you were out, your whole family perished in a freak accident. Then your phone rings with the news that your company went bankrupt and you no longer have a job.
Would blessing the Lord be your priority?
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH
It’s easy to bless God when he gives. Most of us take to social media to proclaim how good he is when our child is born, the surgery is successful, we get the new house, and so on. But when our baby doesn’t come, when the diagnosis lingers, or we lose our job, blessing the Lord rings hollow.
What could possibly make someone believe the Lord is to be blessed when he takes from us? This sounds like the kind of thing someone who’s never lost anything would say. It feels like one of those easy Sunday School answers: “Of course, if the Lord takes from me, I will still bless his name!”
But all our words are just words until they’ve been tested. And the man who introduced these words to us in Scripture is the same man who lost all his children and possessions. The Lord didn’t take a little something off the top from Job—he nearly took it all. Yet Job blessed the name of the Lord.
Is this kind of loyalty possible for us mere mortals? I think so.
PRAYERS YOU WANT TO BE TRUE
Last year I learned to bless the name of the Lord, even when he takes away. He took someone beloved from me, and I was ruined. From day one, my fractured mind tried to think how to respond to such devastating news.
I remembered Job, the great sufferer. I remembered how he blessed the name of the Lord. I knew my suffering couldn’t compare to his, but I didn’t feel like blessing the Lord, who could have easily prevented this tragedy. I felt angry and betrayed. I marveled at Job’s ability to say such things as he grieved. I wanted to grasp that kind of devotion to God.
And so, with a fresh wound and a faith that was being held together by duct tape, I cried, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” My voice shaky from weeping, I began to whisper this sentence over and over again. My rally cry became “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I prayed it because I wanted it to be true. I wanted to mean these words. I kept praying it until one day I prayed because I knew it was true. The Lord had taken from me—taken deeply—yet I still desired to bless his name.
I’m still healing from the wound God inflicted last year. I still grieve. But my grieving transforms into worship as my passion to bless God’s name grows.
I believe he is good. He’s good when he gives, and he’s good when he takes. His goodness is not conditional on the fullness or emptiness of my hands. He’s just good. Believing this launches faith that proclaims, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Our enemy doesn’t want us to believe that God is good. He wants to “expose” God as a fraud. He tries to trick us into believing our faith is only good for Sundays. That it can’t hold up to the trials and heartbreaks of everyday life. He wants us to see it as a belief that’s good on paper, but irrelevant when the storms come.
And come they will. The question is, how will we respond? With blessing or with cursing?
THE BLESSINGS OF THE BEHOLDER
Satan hates when God is blessed. He desires God’s creation to turn on its Creator, to curse him. He expected Job’s suffering to produce cursing at God. But he was disappointed. Through Job’s suffering, God revealed more of himself to the sufferer. And once again, Job surprises us with his response: “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5).
My eye sees you. Job became a beholder.
Beholders believe. When we believe God is good like his Word says (Ps. 100:5), we radiate with the desire to see his name exalted. Come suffering, come loss, come persecution, come rejection—come what may—we magnify the name of the Lord. “So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands” (Ps. 63:4).
The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord, is not the cry of the masochist—it’s the cry of the beholder. It's the cry of those whose faith is unshakable because their God is incomparable. We’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good. And we bless his name. Always.
Have you been slain? Do you wrestle with the belief that he is good—even in your pain? Gaze upon Christ. His beauty is inescapable. Meet him in his Word. See him living, suffering, dying, and rising, so you might know the Father!
Disappoint your enemy and declare God’s goodness. Pray what you struggle to believe until it becomes true in your heart.
Join me in this rally cry: “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
Christy Britton is a wife and mom to four boys. She writes Bible study curriculum for Docent Research Group and serves as the Discipleship Classes Coordinator for Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C. She is an orphan advocate with 127 Worldwide and contributes administratively to bring pastor training opportunities to Africa for Acts 29. You can follow her on Twitter.