Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

The popular praise song "Blessed Be Your Name" was inspired partly by the 9/11 disaster and partly by Job 1:21b: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” (New King James Version). Job spoke those words from what must have been a very similar emotional state to that of those reeling from 9/11; he, like the world of 2001, was swallowed in the shock and grief of nearly inconceivable tragedy.

The fall of the World Trade Center may be more than a decade past, but the world has found plenty of other disasters to serve up in the meantime, most recently on July 20 when a man gunned down over a dozen people at a Colorado theater. But tragedy needn't make the front pages to hit deep down: everyone who has lost a single loved one to a car wreck, a drive-by shooting, or a sudden heart attack has felt that agonizing blow to the spirit, that feeling that the world itself has had a violent burst of rage and lashed out blindly to destroy the innocent.

Who really feels like blessing God's name when the things "taken away" are no longer theoretical?

We cry out for answers, but perhaps none can be really satisfactory. As far as we know, Job never learned of the spiritual interactions behind his suffering--and even for of us who are privy to that part, the idea that God wanted to "prove a point" is not really a particularly good reason from the viewpoint of human logic. Yet the answer for us is the same as the answer Job ultimately found: to turn his eyes from his troubles to his God, to admit he had no right to argue with One so far above him, and to trust God to make everything right in the end.

That is the mindset that grants God the praise He deserves--and our hearts the peace He longs to give.

As we walk the days of our lifetimes,
May we each come to understand
That the good and the evil that meet us
All have passed through our Father's hand:
Not a thing that touches our pathways,
Be it windfall or tragedy,
Ever falls to the lot of God's children
Unless He allows it to be.

When your way seems brimming with blessings,
And your life filled with wealth and ease,
Give your thanks to the Lord, the great Giver,
Who allots things as He does please:
Do not think it is your own doing,
Nor to use for yourself alone,
But use wisely what God has allowed you,
To His praise and the power of His Throne.

When your life seems drowning in sorrows,
And each day brings another pain,
Still give praise to the Lord Who is Master,
And one day will make all things plain:
Do not moan over life's unfairness,
Nor grow angry and curse your fate,
But accept it as part of God's working;
His grace comes to all those who wait.

As we walk the days of our lifetimes,
Let us take all as from God's hand:
All the joys that we praise as His blessings,
All the pains we cannot understand,
All are shaping us in His image,
All are gifts from the Lord of Love,
Who is painting a beautiful picture
For the day we ascend above! 


Janet Ann Collins said...

This poem would make great lyrics for a hymn.

Janet Ann Collins said...

This poem would make great lyrics for a hymn.