Last Thursday evening, Trace Rorie led our church in the song, "Blessed Be The Name of the Lord." I generally don't like any song that has the word "blessed" in it. (I don't know why, perhaps I had a hymnal thrown at me as a child). But this song always gets me thinking.
The final chorus says: "You give and take away, You give and take away, My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name."
While we were singing, I looked over at my kids. And I wondered, if one of them were taken, could I sing, "You give and take away, Lord blessed be Your name"?
Jim Miller was sitting in the row behind me. Earlier this year he lost his wife of over 50 years. If that happened to me, could I sing, "You give and take away, Lord blessed be Your name"?
I looked up at the stage and began thinking of two of my dearest friends who were taken out of my life two years ago last month. They didn't die, but they might as well have. One day they were part of my life and the next day they were gone. I remembered how long it took me to be able to sing, "You give and take away, Lord blessed be Your name."
I think about losing my parents, my sister, my brother, my loving wife, or a good friend. I actually think about it alot, it's probably my greatest fear. I don't wonder about God's sustaining grace or worry about the afterlife. I just hate the concept of death and don't want to lose those that I love. I supposed that is true of all of us to some degree.
I suppose that's why the song says, "My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name." It's a choice. I just pray that I'll have the grace to make that choice when the time comes. And if I can't, I pray there will be friends at my side who won't give up on me until I'm able to sing this song again.