One of my favorite games is Jenga. Did you know the word “Jenga” is Swahili for the verb build? Jenga is a game based on the premise of stacking blocks. Each player takes turns pulling out wooden blocks from the tower, keeping balance, holding their breath and heartbeat as they rearrange the blocks with the hope that the tower does not collapse. With one little shaky move, the entire tower comes crumbling down and what was once a beautiful masterpiece, firmly balanced, falls into pieces on the floor.
A few weeks ago, this game got me thinking about life. Have you ever felt that if one tiny piece of your life were to be moved/removed, you would come crumbling down? Have you ever been so overwhelmed with work, school, relationships, and life in general that you were a walking ticking time bomb ready to explode? Or maybe, you are at a place in life where all your pieces have fallen, and you do not have anything else to hold on to! You are not alone! We all have been there, and maybe, someone else like you is going through the same experience as you are! I have spent countless times remembering the moments I have wished the earth would split and swallow me alive!
I’m reminded of Job in the bible, whose whole life comes crumbling down piece by piece. His story begins with him being wealthy, full of life, large family, and extensive flocks: thousands of sheep and camels, hundreds of oxen and donkeys, and many servants. We are told he was not only wealthy but also blameless and upright, a man of integrity. Job would be up early in the morning to offer burnt offerings to God just in case his children might have sinned or cursed God in their hearts. One day, all pieces of Job’s life came crumbling down when he received several messages, at different times, that his oxen, donkeys, sheep, servants, and his children had died.
Sometimes, just reading a story does not encapsulate the amount of agony and pain in the moments. I have often wondered what must have been going through Job’s mind and heart! This must have been so painful for him! It is written that Job got up and tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell to the ground. The tearing of one’s clothes among the Jews was an outward expression of grief associated with mourning, loss, pain, deep sorrow. In other cases, it was a sign of humility and grief followed by other outward expressions like shaving one’s head or wearing a sackcloth.
What amazes me is Job’s worship moment! After all his pieces had crumbled, he seeks after the Lord-
“And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 1:21 ESV
Two things stand out for me here:
- The Lord Gives, and the Lord takes away!
This is a surrendered heart! The ability to know that everything comes from the Lord and that we are merely stewards! An open heart to release everything into God’s hands so that God can use each piece of our life for His glory! I have found myself in moments where I have had to invite God to search my heart and, like David, cry out to Him and say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalms 139:23-24 NLT It’s a posture of open hands and releasing!
- Blessed be the name of the Lord!
A heart of gratitude! It is easy for us to thank God when things are going great, but it takes a lot of strength and spiritual maturity to say “blessed be your name” when everything in our world comes crumbling down. Cultivating a heart of gratitude allows us to see everything as a gift from God, which will enable us to appreciate life no matter what is thrown at us.
Therefore, brethren, I don’t know how pieces of your life are moving, or maybe they have all fallen! My prayer for you is that you will not doubt God’s presence in your life and keep on moving. Do not despair. Your faith will be tested, and you will be stretched! I pray for peace as you go through these moments! Peace/ Shalom that comes from the Lord-one that passes all understanding. In those moments, I invite you to set the posture of your heart to surrender with a grateful heart that learns to say, like Job, “Lord, you give, and you take away, Blessed be your name!”