“The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away.”
Prior to coming into The Voice of Healing ministry, in my ignorance, I always perceived this verse as a punishment. God took things away from us as punishment for some wrong we’ve committed against Him, or a lesson of some sort that we’d never known the answer to. “Only God knows the reason” is something I said all too often. During the past year of studies and growing my relationship with God, I’ve come to realize God wants us to know the reasons for these lessons. He wants us to understand why things are happening, what they mean for our relationship with Him, and ultimately the state of our soul. Why do we receive things and why are they taken away? This isn’t a cruel game of hide and seek, but a learning experience and intimate knowledge of our Lord and Savior. These things are received and taken away based on our maturity level and ability to see in the spirit realm. Without having a mature understanding of spiritual things, we could miss the message God is trying to convey to us every time and twist it into an understanding it was never meant to be. As we grow in our understanding, we can begin to see that losses are not punishment at all, but to bring us closer to our Creator.
This comes in phases, as described by Origen, a prolific 2nd/3rd century Early Church Father, as he clarifies Jeremiah 20:7, “O lord, you have deceived me and I was deceived.” Jeremiah is saying that he was deceived by God…. wait, God deceives? He describes how the extent of trials and tribulations are kept hidden from us when we begin our new Christian faith. God does not deceive the way we, or the enemy deceives, but His deception is solely for our benefit.
“Just as the physician tries to deceive the sick person who cannot be healed except by deceiving words, so too does the God of all in his desire to help the human race. Should the doctor tell the patient; you must be cut open, you must be cauterized, you must suffer other terrible things, the sick person would never entrust himself to the doctor. But sometimes he says something else and hides under the sponge that cutting and separating steel. Another time he disguises under honey the bitter and unpleasant medicine with the intention not of hurting but of healing the patient. The whole sacred scripture is filled with such medicines. Sometimes good things are concealed, and sometimes it is bitter which is hidden.”
God is the ultimate physician (Exo 15:26) and He knows exactly what our sick soul needs to receive healing. What Origen is saying is that if God were to show us the entire healing process right at the beginning, there would be no way we’d trust in His plan. A healing process is seldom without pain. Anyone who has broken a bone or had any type of major injury can attest that the process was uncomfortable if not at some points unbearable. But once the process is complete you forget about the pain and enjoy the benefits of the healed area.
Hosea 6:1 “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath stricken, and he will bind us up.”
The same is true with our Christian walk. When we first come to Christ, we are filthy, dirty, and broken. He needs to clean us up and patch up our wounds, He needs to grow us up in our understanding and nourish us with spiritual food. Once we grow in knowledge, we can begin to discern certain things that may not have been beneficial to our walk with Christ anyway. He brings us to a crossroad so that we can make a decision. Do we want to hold onto our old way of life and what held us captive for so long, or do we want to work through these issues equipped with the Word and gain an appreciation of how much God loves us? God won’t force anything upon us, it is a free will offering. Origen states again:
“The mystery in this passage must be concealed so that many will not lose heart, so that they will not, upon learning the facts, think of the outcome as a punishment instead of peaceful tranquility.”
Without understanding, losing certain things could be detrimental to our spiritual growth. We must understand that it’s never God’s intention to harm us, but He only wants us to be set free from the bondage of this world and be in a state of peace with Him.
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Everything has been set up for us to succeed. Our God is not an unjust or cruel God. His only desire is to be one with His people. He won’t release a test that we aren’t equipped to pass. The more we grow in knowledge and wisdom the more tests we will be able to overcome. Job is an excellent example of this, he endured extremely harsh testing, but through his understanding of the Father and how He operates, Job was able to recognize what was happening around him. He did not give heed to his friend’s bad advice or curse God for what was happening to him. When Job passed his testing, he was rewarded with a double portion from what he had originally started with. He took God at His word and trusted the process he was being taken through.
“1 Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Nothing worth having comes easily, but what better thing is there to have than eternal life with the Lord? The glory comes at a cost and if we’re too concerned with this temporal life, we could miss it. God is trying to get us to loosen our grip on this physical world and cling to His word and promises. We will absolutely lose things in the process of salvation, and it won’t always feel good, but what God gives us in place of those things is so much greater than what we can imagine. All He asks is for us to trust Him. There is no greater possession than the love of the Father.
1 Co 2:9 But as it is written: “EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”
All scripture references New King James Version
Origen: Spirit and Fire Pg. 346-347