As I write these words, Kerri and I are getting ready to leave my parents’ home for the final time. After 61 years, more than my lifetime, we are praying this home soon belongs to someone else. That has created very odd feelings. Probably every other time I have left Calgary, I have had some sense of when I would return. But that is not the case this time. This time is a leaving or a taking away. The idea of taking away bubbled up for me on Sunday. We went to the church where I grew up. During the service, we sang a song from Job 1:21. The verse reads: And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Those words represent Job’s first response to the loss of his property and chidren. I have often struggled with that verse. I like the idea of God giving, that is attractive to my ears and desires. But this taking away part seems hard. Taking away does not set my feet to dancing. And yet, as I have ruminated over Job 1:21, I have also pondered his words in Job 42:3: …Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
There is something wonderful about both God giving and taking away. In the wonderous glory, beauty, and goodness of God, the taking away of my parents, their home, and the city I lived in for the first 24 years of my life is offering me something wonderful. Like Job, I am not sure that I understand all of that, but thanks to the words and actions of the Lord Jesus, I know part of that wonder is a place in His father’s house He is preparing for me (John 14:1-4). Through this season of taking away, the Holy Spirit seems to be creating a hunger in my soul to be with Jesus in a city whose designer and builder is God. A city I will never have to leave, and I will never have to endure the separations that have come with life on earth. But more than that, I will be with Jesus. Having things taken away is hard, but our Resurrecting God transforms taking away into the most wonderful things.