“Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
The words of this old hymn, written by Johnson Oatman in 1897, remind us that no matter what situation we find ourselves in, there are still some blessings in our lives, and it is wise to focus on them when times are tough.
At Love Imc., we have an intake interview process where we get to know our clients and their overall situations so that we can understand how best to help them. One of the questions is “What are you grateful for today?”
Some clients say they are happy to be alive, or that their situation isn’t worse; others have said they are glad they have a new apartment, or a new job; that they are thankful for their family, their friends, their church, or “God loves me and answers prayer.”
Some readers may be thinking, “What do I have to be thankful for today? Things look pretty bad right now — I’ve suffered a bad relationship, lost a friend, can’t get a job, have serious health issues, the news is full of angry people, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, political turmoil, and of course, the pandemic!”
Could be it is time to take a lesson from the 17th century Presbyterian minister and writer Mathew Henry, who found four things to be thankful for after he had his wallet stolen: first, he was thankful that it was the first time he had ever been robbed; secondly that although he had been robbed, he was not killed; thirdly that it was he who had been robbed, not he that had done the robbing, and finally, that although the robber took everything he had, it wasn’t very much.
Henry was living out the scripture — I Thessalonians 5:16-18 — that says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
While life can indeed be tough, an attitude of gratitude and focusing on positive things will help. Reaching out to God in prayer will give you peace in the midst of the chaotic storms of life.
As Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-8, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
What is your blessing count today?
• Guy Crockroft is the Executive Director of Love Inc, Juneau. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.