Monday, October 4, 2010

Do You Feel Like God is Taking Things Away?

“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life” (John 10:10). As many times as I have read and taught this verse, I never fully appreciated how Jesus contrasts Himself with a thief! Some say the word thief in this verse refers to false shepherds who come with selfish motives. Others say it refers to Satan: a thief and murder. Either way contrasts taking and giving. Why? When people experience loss, they see it negatively—as God taking away something they loved.

When someone dies, people will say, “The Lord took him." When someone loses a job, people may say, "Well, the Lord gives; the Lord takes away." And some Christians cynically speak of the church offering as the church or preacher taking their money! Many people reluctantly give themselves to God because of this false view that He is taking away their freedom.

Remember how the Hebrews reacted right after they had crossed over the Red Sea? They sang and danced with great joy because God had given them freedom. But within days, they were complaining that God had taken away their leeks and onion. Like the Israelites, we are tempted to see God’s actions in a negative light. If you are currently struggling with feelings that God has taken away something from you, ask Him to reveal His true nature to you. The more you get to know Him as a giver of good things
(James 1:17) the more you will be able to see the abundant life He has given, and is giving, you.


  1. Greg,

    Just to let you know that your blog today is especially relevant for me.

    As you know my wife and I have taken on the joy of absorbing my parents into our household since last year at this time. My Mom has since passed away and my Dad is struggling with his health. Since my wife is on permanent disability she has had the time (and up to about a month ago she has also had the energy)to focus on being Dad's primary caretaker since I work fulltime.

    I also have been an elder at the church we attend. Due to the nature of things it has become more necessary for me as a man to be more involved with my dad's caretaking and all of the crazy things that that includes. It only occured to me today that I really have felt deep in the recesses of my soul that God has indeed taken away the thing I enjoyed so much--being an active elder who is held in high regard for his thoughts and opinions (status). Ouch! That was not a revelation I was looking for.

    So now I am in the infant stages of relocating my treasure so that my heart can truly be here at home. For many men--like me--this is proving to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated; for others it may seem way overdue. But it is time, nevertheless.

    Gratefully, joy is transferable.


  2. Greg,

    For the past 10 years, I have been feeling this. I needed this so much so.

  3. Stan: thanks for sharing so vulnerably. I am sure this will be helpful to others. I also have struggled with this since I retired in 2008, thinking I would be 'free' to do more ministry, the Lord assigned me to take care of my parents.

    Anau: as always thanks for sharing with me how this evotional affected you. I love to know that God is using my thoughts and reflections to speak to others. Thanks.