He Gives and Takes Away

August 1st 2012 was a monumental day for our family. We welcomed little John David Daniel into the world – all 9 pounds 8 ounces of him. Truly, he is a precious gift from God.

Less than 24 hours later (19 to be exact) our family said goodbye to our dear Grandmother, Theresa Solinger, who passed away at the age of 87. As I reflected on life and death and all that had happened in such a short time, a verse from the book of Job came to mind. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

Everyone who knew Grandma knew she was a special person. Grandma T (as the twins called her) loved people and I don’t think I’ve ever met a more generous person. She was a hard worker, getting up at 5am each morning to clean the house and get a good start on the day. She was also a good cook, often having family and friends over for hearty meals. There is so much more that could be said about the character of Grandma, but I will stop there.

Grandma lived a good life, almost making it to age 88. She married Max Solinger not long after he got back from serving in World War 2. If you do the math, that works out to 66 years of marriage. God gave Grandma a long life and a long marriage and even though we are grieving right now, we are thankful for the years we had with her. Grandma left us with many wonderful memories.

One of the primary attributes of God is His sovereignty. As you read through the Bible, you encounter this theme again and again – God rules and governs the world. So when we say “God is in control,” it is just one way of affirming the sovereignty of God. This works itself out in a number of different ways including life and death. God is the giver of life (1 Timothy 6:13) and dare I say, the taker of life (Psalm 139:16). Last week we witnessed both in the birth of baby John and the death of Grandma Theresa.

A few days ago, we bought some muffins from a local bakery. In the midst of munching, I noticed a bible verse on the muffin box – Revelation 4:11. “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” This is a powerful little verse with a simple application. We were created by God and for God. We were created to bring God glory and serve Him with our lives.

I don’t know how many years God will give John David Daniel. It is our prayer that no matter how many years he has, that God would be glorified through his life and that he would be a worshipper of the One True God. While we love him to death and think the world of him, we know that he is a sinner, and must believe in Jesus and repent of his sin, just like everyone else.

Friend, I don’t know how much longer you will live. Even though you might think you have many more years, today could be your last day (Luke 12:20). Apart from faith in Jesus Christ, you will enter into a lost eternity. You will have no hope of heaven and no hope of eternal life. So don’t wait another day to give your life to Christ.

Allow me to leave you with a closing thought on the brevity of life from the pen of King David:

“O Lord, make me to know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!  Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you.  Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!  Surely a man goes about as a shadow!  Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!  And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?  My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:4-7)

2 thoughts on “He Gives and Takes Away

  1. Hi Dan. I have wanted to write and congratulate you and Stefanie on the birth of your son. But it seems as though you are living in a bittersweet time so I also offer you my condolences on the loss of your grandmother. My prayers are with you and your family…that you might find great joy in both John David Daniel and in the well lived life of your grandmother. Both are great blessings from our Father, as you well know. Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Kim Shifler


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