You know that old saying ‘Count your Blessings?’ How many times have you heard it? 100? 1,000? Has it gotten old yet? Do you even register the thought behind it anymore?
Count your blessings. It’s become a trite piece of advice, even offensive at times. Sometimes it hurts to be told to count your blessings because the struggles you’re facing are so overwhelming.
I was once told to make a list of my blessings and literally count them all. Make no mistake, it would be an extremely long list. But I didn’t think I needed to go to such an extreme. After all, advice like that was for people who were going through really hard times, not people like me who are just dealing with the day to day stuff.
Then ever so slowly it began to dawn on me how much of my prayer time is spent asking for things. Please don’t misunderstand, it is certainly good to ask God for things. The Bible tells us to. It’s important to ask for things like forgiveness and grace and love and faith, as well as for things like finances and employment.
But it seemed like my prayers of late were getting hijacked by these endless requests. My prayer time with God was becoming one big wish list recitation, like I was a kid sitting on Santa’s lap.
So I tried an experiment. I began praying but didn’t allow myself to ask for anything, not even forgiveness. This prayer was for ‘Thank You’s only.
It was a real eye-opener. I hadn’t realized how much I had to be thankful for until then. I suddenly realized that there was cause to be grateful for every single thing that was happening in my life.
I thanked God for the usual things: His love, Jesus’ sacrifice, my husband, our home, daily bread, etc.
Then my worries started popping up and I was tempted to start praying for deliverance from certain struggles. But by allowing myself to only say ‘thank You,’ I discovered that I really should be grateful for my struggles.
I thanked God that my husband had yet to find a job because it gave us occasion to rest in God’s provision and learn to trust Him more.
I thanked God for a recent, painful separation from loved ones because I realized He was toppling idols in my life and filling my heart with Himself.
I thanked God for tight purse strings because it gave me a change to rearrange my priorities and appreciate what things are truly important.
I’m beginning to realize that if God is in control then everything will work out as it should, and that is something to be very grateful for.
I’ve quoted this before on the blog but it bears repeating:
We have to thank God for the seemingly good as well as the seemingly bad because, really, we don’t know the difference.
I would encourage you to take a few minutes in prayer to find out what you have to be thankful for. You may be surprised to learn that many of your trials are actually blessings.