" The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."
Job 1: 21-22 (NIV)
The neighbors later told me that they had never seen me run so fast. I simply remember my feet pounding the pavement, my heart pounding even harder.
We were packing to move, again, and the morning had been spent loading furniture and boxes onto the moving truck. Our boys, four and six at the time, had been busy making a general nuisance of themselves as only little boys can, when there is serious work to be done and they are not getting enough attention during the process.
Suddenly I heard someone shout, "Your little boy has been hit by a truck!"
What? How could that be? He was just under my feet a minute ago.
But he had somehow slipped away in the hurry-scurry of loading the moving van, and was around the corner from our house. As I ran, the words of these verses in Job ran through my mind. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord .... oh, Lord, please. I am sorry I have been resisting what you are doing in my life.
The fact was that I had been crying, alone and in private, for three straight days. That was unlike me, as I am not a "crier". I tend to be fairly stoic. But we were facing some truly dismaying developments in our lives, and I was not happy about them.
I had been complaining bitterly to God along the lines of "Why me? Why now?" - and as I ran, I suddenly realized it all was in His hands and whatever God was sending my way, He would be there with me to face it.
As I rounded the corner and saw his little four-year old body lying at the side of the street, my heart broke as I said, deliberately and with purpose, "Lord, whether you give or you take away, I will serve You. Please give me strength to face this. Have mercy on my child."
A middle-aged man sat, ashen-faced, unable to move behind the wheel of his pickup. My son, Mark, lay about twenty feet from his front bumper, unconscious, unmoving. He looked almost asleep, his white-blond hair in disarray as it always was, his sturdy little arms and legs sprawled every which way. There was no blood.
As the man stumbled from his vehicle, he began to murmur, almost to himself more than to me, "He just ran right out in front of me. I never saw him. I didn't have a chance to stop."
By then others had gathered around, as his father and I scooped him up and raced off to the hospital. He had been hit head-on, and thrown twenty feet through the air, landing in gravel at the side of the road. The front grill of the pickup was badly dented in, and looked like you might expect if the driver had hit a deer.
How could a little child survive a hit like that? But he did. Not only that, but when he came to and began to cry on our way to the hospital, he did not appear to have any broken bones. Later the doctors said he had some bruised ribs, and needed two stitches in his hand for a minor cut. He had a mild concussion and they advised us not to allow him to go to sleep for a few hours, and then to awaken him every two hours throughout the night. That was it.
Sometimes, in life, the worst that can happen does. And sometimes the worst that does happen is almost negligible, compared to how much worse it could have been. This was one of those times. I don't purport to understand the rhyme nor reason of it. But this I do know, from both joyful and tragic experience; when the Lord gives He does so with abundance, and when He takes away, He does so with mercy and compassion. More than this, I do not need to know.
From that day on, I have never read those two verses in Job without remembering that hard run and hard realization that it can all change in a moment's time. That is when I first truly knew that all my times are in His hands.
God bless you .....Marsha Miriam Pauline at MiPa's Monologue is hosting today and has given a thoughtful post on these verses. Please join her there.