the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away
One's good fortune can very easily and abruptly be reversed. The phrase originates in the Bible. A: "I can't believe it. I finally get that big promotion, and then the company goes bankrupt!" B: "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away." I was ecstatic to see all the money I had made in my first month as a contractor—until I realized how much would go to taxes. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, the
Good fortune may be followed by misfortune. The term alludes to the Bible’s Book of Job, in which Job suffers considerable misfortune. “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Today it is generally used more lightly and without invoking the deity, as in, “After winning the prize, we just learned we have to pay tax on it—the Lord giveth and taketh away.” The New York Times travel section, in a piece about one airline providing pillows and the other no longer doing so, played on the phrase in a headline: “Virgin Giveth, American Taketh Away” (Dec. 12, 2004). For a modern equivalent, see also win some, lose some.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer