Growing up, I heard people talking about how God gives and takes away. This always seemed scary to me as a kid. I started thinking about this phrase in two different ways. One, was that God was an Indian giver. I know this is a horrible colloquialism. But, it is an expression I grew up hearing and it seemed to go right along with God giving and taking things away. The second, was that I only thought about God giving us “good” things and then taking said “good” things away. I guess they both boil down to the same thing though; God gives us things, but He also takes them away.
I think the scary part for me as a kid was the fact that at any time, without any notice, God could take something good away from us. I didn’t like that. It was almost as if the giving part had to be accompanied by the taking part. Also, I have no idea why I thought God would only take “good” things from us, but that is what I thought.
Now, as an adult who is growing spiritually, I am learning to view this remark in a different light. First, I should point out that the saying comes from Job 1:21—“He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’”
If you read this verse and think, yes, God can give and He can take away. Or, at the very least, He allows bad things to happen. Read the book of Job and you can see that Job has been blessed, but then he suffers great and terrible losses. From my point of view, Satan is the one taking things from Job, not God. Satan is the thief that we read about in the Bible. In John 10:10 it says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Reading the book of Job can also show you what a blessing it is to fully trust in God with everything you have. Job was not perfect, and yes, he lost a great deal in his life, yet through it all he kept his faith and trust in God. And, that faith and trust in God was eventually rewarded by God’s grace. Through God’s grace, Job got back everything he had once lost.
But, back to God taking “good” things away from us. I do think He can and does take “good” things away from us. However, taking “good” things away from us isn’t always a bad thing. Our definition of “good” may be skewed. What we think of as “good” may not really be that good. Maybe God has something better in store for us. Maybe there is lesson we need to learn. Maybe that “good” thing is hindering us and we don’t even realize it. Maybe that “good” thing is causing us to love things more than we love God.
In other words, just because we think something is good, doesn't mean it is. As Jon Bloom, has observed, “Prosperity tends to conceal idolatry and false faith. Loss reveals what we really love and believe.”
I truly believe that God loves us and only wants good things for us. God is a giver. No matter what He is doing, whether it makes sense to us or not, He either does things to benefit us, or He can work bad things out, so that they can be blessings. God’s ultimate intention is never for suffering or death, but for blessing and life. Two of my all-time favorite Bible verses are: Romans 8:28 (…all things work together for good to them that love God…) and Isaiah 61:3 (…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…)
I also like to think about the fact that God takes “bad” things away from us too. He can and will take away our pain, our sorrow, our guilt, our worries, our shame, our remorse, our stress, our fears, and our sins. God loves to take away all those “bad” things that harm us.
And He will take them away, if we let Him. That is why He sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. It is our job to trust and believe in God and accept His gift of grace with a thankful heart. For, it is by His grace and love that He sent His son Jesus to save us. And, save us, He did. And, that same grace and love will heal us of all the “bad” things we fall prey to.
So, as a conclusion, I believe that our God is a loving God, a kind God, a God who gives and gives generously. He takes too, but not in the negative way that I thought of for so long. When He takes, He does so to help us and bless us. And, that is just another way of giving to us, another way of loving us. He is after all, our good, good Father.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.