Jenga is one of my favorite games. The Swahili meaning of the word Jenga is ‘build,’ and the game is all about stacking wooden blocks. As players take turns pulling out blocks, they try to keep the tower balanced while their heartbeat and breath are held in suspense. The fear of the tower collapsing adds to the excitement. With just one little shaky move, the entire tower comes crumbling down, and what was once a beautiful masterpiece falls into pieces on the floor.
Recently, this game got me thinking about life. Have you ever felt like one tiny piece of your life could be moved, and you would come crumbling down? Or have you ever been so overwhelmed with work, school, relationships, and life, that you felt like a ticking time bomb ready to explode? Perhaps you are at a point in life where all your pieces have fallen, and you have nothing left to hold on to. You are not alone! We have all been there, and someone else might be going through the same thing as you. I have had moments where I wished the earth would swallow me alive.
The story of Job in the bible comes to mind, whose whole life came crumbling down piece by piece. He was wealthy, full of life, had a large family, and extensive flocks of animals. We are told he was not only wealthy but also blameless and upright, a man of integrity. One day, all the pieces of his life came crumbling down when he received several messages, at different times, that his animals, servants, and his children had died.
Sometimes, just reading a story doesn’t convey 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, and deep sorrow.
What amazes me is Job’s worship moment! After all his pieces had crumbled, he sought after the Lord and 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.” Two things stand out for me here: The Lord Gives, and the Lord takes away! This is a surrendered heart, one that knows everything comes from the Lord, and we are merely stewards. It is a posture of open hands and releasing.
The second thing is a heart of gratitude. It is easy 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, I don’t know how the 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 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!”