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The Give and Take of Life

It’s impossible to avoid the double-fisted nature of life. It gives. And it takes. The last couple of weeks, it seems like it’s been in a taking mode. Everywhere I turn and with many of the people I talk with, I hear hard stories of loss. Minuses.

A beloved husband was taken from a woman I know. She used to live in Indy where she was a brilliant counselor to lots of people I know. Now she is bereft of the man she loved. Her life partner gone; the casualty of a car crash caused by a drunk driver.

On Friday I learned of the tragic death of a friend. I didn’t know her well but had regular contact via email and occasionally in person. She was a spiritual director, a servant, a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother. On her daily walk she was struck by a car at 11:30 am in the morning. Gone. Taken from her family, including her soon-to-be-born second grandchild.

Just a couple of hours ago I received a text from a long-time friend who is dear to me. Her daughter and daughter-in-law have both been diagnosed with serious, possibly life-threatening conditions. Now my friend turns her worries into prayers—urgent, aching prayers—for these two who are so precious to her.

These are only a few of the “takes” that have come close to me or those I care about. I’m not sure why the takes seem to be winning out, though it seems like they are. As I pray, and I do still pray, though admittedly with questions and perplexity, I’m also reminded that everyday life opens its hand with a generous portion of goodness, more than I deserve or could ever account for. It’s the nature of life to give and to take.

So I sit in my backyard, the warm autumn sun beaming down with the sound of children playing next door, enjoying the gift of Sabbath rest. And I think of some penetrating words by Father James Finley on an album of singer/songwriter Alana Levandoski—words that often express my own experience of life with God in this world of give and take.

Finley (and Levandoski) say something to the effect that God never promises to protect us from anything, but to sustain us in all things. It strikes me as a “hard truth.” You know what I mean? Something that rings true but isn’t the way we’d like it to be. While I’d wish it otherwise, I think this is the best I can consider right now. And it helps me know how to pray for all of us, especially those who are grieving. God is here with us, always, offering to sustain us no matter how the scales of life tip.

Alana Levandoski, Sustained in All Things

1 Comment

Paul Benson
Nov 08, 2021

Really appreciate your posts and videos. Thanks be to God for you ,staff and family of God.🙏🔥 Pastor Paul, (Ret), Canada

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