In my short list of contemporary Christian songs that I feel will one day become cherished hymns, one song has surely risen to the top. “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman has been sung in just about every church I have visited in the past few years. Its lyrics which invite us to praise God in the midst of whatever is going on in our lives, has truly touched the hearts of millions.
Blessed be Your name when the sun’s shining down on me. When the world’s “all as it should be,” blessed be Your name. Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering. Though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.
This modern hymn, written by Matt and Beth Redman, was penned during the aftermath of 911. Matt wrote: “It struck me how little a vocabulary we have in church worship music to respond appropriately in dark times of life. We all face seasons of pain and unease. And in those times we need to find our voice before God. The church, and indeed the world, needs songs of lamentation.”
In an article about the song’s origin, Lindsay Terry writes: “Many believe the Book of Job is about suffering, but Matt has a different interpretation. ‘I think it’s really about something much grander–the sovereignty of God–of which suffering is a subcategory. At the end of chapter one it says: ‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised.’ Trust is a beautiful act of worship. It says to God, ‘I believe in You–in Your unfailing goodness and greatness–no matter what season of life I find myself in.'” (“Story Behind the Song: Blessed Be Your Name,” Lindsay Terry, Today’s Christian, May 1, 2007.)
I think Matt’s song captures the spirit of what Job had to say. Job’s statement reminds us be happy with what the Lord has given us… and to remain content if He decides to take it away. I struggle with one side or the other of these two things.
When I receive things, I struggle with a desire to “Super-Size” what has been given me. I love the words of Bob Russell: “It is a rare person who, when his cup frequently runs over, can thank God instead of complaining about the limited size of his mug!”
I also struggle with the bitterness of those times that things are taken away from me. Being uprooted from place to place can create a resentment if one is not careful. Contentment is to be delighted in God, the giver and taker.
Thank you, Matt Redman, for making Job’s words even more memorable for us today. Feelings of joy and sorrow flow freely in this work of worship that will be sung for generations to come.