Two girls were each given a rock and a sucker. They were told to walk down the road and back with the rock in their shoe and the sucker in their mouth. They grumbled most of the way and couldn’t walk normally because of the rock. Limping and staggering, they just made it back. When asked what it was like to walk around like that, they spoke only of the rock in their shoe and not the sucker in their mouth.
“Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?” we ask in four-part harmony. “Count your many blessings. Every doubt will fly, and you will keep singing as the days go by. So, amid the conflict whether great or small, do not be discouraged. God is over all,” we intone. “Count your many blessings. Angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.” The old hymn’s wisdom has never been more true than during these times in which we live.
The struggles of life and our focus on them often keep us from seeing how richly God is blessing us. Counting our blessings makes us more aware of them and more prone to thank God for them. When times are hard and blessings seem few, we may learn to value each one that much more. Just knowing that God is eager to bless assures us that for every one that we see, there are many more that escape our notice.
So let us count our blessings, because:
• Saying thanks moves our focus from the dark to the light. It helps us to see what is going right, even when we know that much is going wrong. It enables us to appreciate God’s goodness, especially in the face of troubled times.
• Counting blessings multiplies our joy. Counting blessings, reminds us of the reasons that we have to be joyful in the first place: God’s blessings abide, even when circumstances sour. It is often at precisely those times when we endure extreme difficulty that God blesses us most with tangible evidence of His intangible favour. When we put his blessings into words, each expression reminds us of another and then another. Before we know it, we are looking at a long list – a testament to God’s benevolence and abundant grace.
• Saying thanks turns our attention away from ourselves. When we say thanks, we acknowledge the beneficial actions of others. We realize that we are not the source of our own blessings. People of faith recognize divine grace in all that we receive, and often at the hands of others. We are not alone.
• Counting our blessings – nourishes our hope. In each blessing and in all of them together, we see that God remains faithful, ever loving and caring for those who are His. And having walked with God we expect that God will abide with us and continue to bless us in the future.
God’s steadfast presence and abiding comfort are great blessings that belong at the top of every list. Let us count our blessings – to embrace the joy of our Lord. And having been blessed, let us be a blessing to others, bearers of light dispensing hope to dispel the darkness of this world.