He Gives and Takes Away – a Poem

He Gives and Takes Away
Thoughts on the Book of Job, the parable of the barn, and Writings of Richard Foster

By Jane Tawel

April 26, 2015

God Gave. . . . . . .

I clutched on tight.

Health.
Then Cancer.

Spouse.
Then Betrayal.

Job.
Then Dismissal.

Children.
Then Distance.

Thoughts.
Then Confusion.

Life.
Then Death.

And I Cried Out:
I Can’t Hold On Anymore.

God Reminded me,
Jesus Taught you to Pray.
“Give me”.

I looked at my hands holding on so hard,
Tight red palms, callused fingers clutching on
To Everything I love.
To Everything I want.
To Everything I need.

I don’t want to let go, I whispered.
I Love.
I Need.
I Must.
I Will.

God Reminded me,
Jesus Taught you to Pray,
“Not my will — Yours”.
My hands hurt.
My heart beats not in my throat
But in my grasping hands,
My heart pounding
With the fear of letting go.
My heart is in my hands.

God Reminded Me,
Jesus Taught you to Pray.
“Deliver me”.
Where your heart is, there is your treasure.
(Oh, Ugh! I didn’t mean to jog down this street. Oops. I am gonna walk in the other direction because I need to get to my home and figure out how to keep my job, how to debate my spouse, how to keep my insurance, what to make for dinner tomorrow, how to talk to my child, how to plan my day, how to tell her no, how to get better, what to take, how to get that, and get that, and keep this, and keep that, and not let them know, and tell them, and tell them, and own, own, own, and own, and do it just do it, and keep thinking it through, and never have another moment’s worry. I gotta get there.)

I heard a Voice,
“Hold things lightly.”

Oh my God.
I can’t.
Everything will slip away.

God reminded me:
Jesus taught you to pray.
“On earth, as in heaven.”
“In your little scared hands, hold on only
To what was in My Son’s hands on earth.
Our Big Scarred hands will hold all the Rest for you.”

The centrifugal force of my Rest-less spinning self is throwing me outward propelling me toward the Black Hole of Holding while my hands clutch at the un-tethered, floating flotsam of Stuff. Just stuff I’ve been holding onto for some time now.

Jesus taught me to Pray:
“Forgive me. “

“And oh, my God, if I let go,
Please don’t let me float away.”

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.”
God Gives.
God Takes Away.

I open my hands and All I am holding -on to,
begins to drift lightly upward
like many little feathers.

I will walk Home
With hands wide open.
“Naked I came, and naked I will go.
He gives and takes away.”
Bless not me, Bless Him.

And if I ever lose my hands
Bless the Lord oh my soul.

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3 thoughts on “He Gives and Takes Away – a Poem”

  1. This piece so made me think of dear Pastor Earl Lee, who frequently had us pray holding out our hands, first palms down so we could release all the stuff we’re holding onto for dear life and then palms up to receive God’s blessings. He was also the originator of the Cycle of Victorious Living: Commit-Trust-Delight-Rest. Hug yourself, dear Jane, you deserve it! I’m sending you one long distance!

    Liked by 1 person

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