For years, Rob sang a particular psalm to our kids at bedtime. He’d sit on the floor in their darkened bedrooms and sing to settle them as they headed off to sleep. I’d stand at the doorway as the tune washed over me at the day’s close. “What shall I give unto the Lord, for all he’s done for me?” As I write those words, my eyes fill with tears as I remember his voice and those nights that now feel a lifetime away.
What shall I give unto the Lord? I hear those words, and I think of wizen old Abraham, offering his son Isaac on an altar of sticks. I think of Jesus asking Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” What shall I give unto the Lord? You’d better be careful if you ask that question. If you ask what you should give, God might ask you to give what is dearest to you.
I didn’t want to give Rob back to God. I wasn’t ready in July of 2019. I don’t think I ever would have been ready. I wanted Rob to be mine for years and years to come. Be mine. Those words reveal a possessiveness I’m embarrassed to admit. I’d rather think about how Rob was stolen from me by death. It is harder to admit he was never mine to start.
Rob never belonged to me. He always belonged to God. The God who welcomed him like a forgiving father, who sheltered him like a mother bird. The Christ who bled and died for him. The Spirit who claimed his rightful, loving ownership of Rob before time began.
What shall I give unto the Lord? It’s a rhetorical question, actually. One that answers itself. In view of all God has done for me, I should be willing to give all. Everything I have. Everyone I love. Even the one dearest to me. Like Abraham, I must learn to love the Lord with open, uplifted hands. Like Peter, I must learn to say, “To whom Lord should I go?” I don’t know how to do this kind of giving, this self-emptying kind of loving. I admit, I’m afraid to learn. In grief, God, please teach me even this.
What shall I give unto the Lord
For all, for all, for all He’s done for me?
I’ll take the cup of salvation,
And call, and call, and call upon the name
of the Lord.
One thought on “What Shall I Give Unto the Lord?”
I think one of the great tensions of grief is knowing our spouse, our children, even our own lives are irreplaceable gifts from the hand of the Father. Still, when one of those suddenly is taken away and gone, we do feel robbed. You, more than anyone, know the value of the priceless gifts you were given in Rob and in your children. Quite frankly, there is a kind of “righteous possessiveness” in that knowing. Indeed, you know how great a gift you were given. None of us truly knows how to give back, to fully surrender with open hands, our greatest gifts to the Lord. We all are in the pre-school of learning how to do that. We can only pray the beautiful prayer you shared: “God, even in grief, teach me this.” That’s a pray of a courageous woman to a God who, more than anyone, knows the deep value of each human life..