When we have grown faint and feel like dying. When we think all has gone bad. When we think we have been greatly disappointed or deserted by our friends and family and even the people we trust the most. When we think we have only have a streak of bad luck. When we think all are against us. When we think the Lord has closed his eyes to our plight. And then when we have hoped against hope and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. When we have felt all these, it is possible that we may even feel far worse. Because, no amount of prayer and supplication to our God seem to work; and we begin to lose our trust in God.
No amount of words from friends and well - wishers seem to bring any hope. Even when they even do, they easily wane in no time. This was how a friend of my best friend was feeling and indeed I believe some of us have been in this situation before or now. I told my best friend to tell the friend to count his blessings. That is all he needs to do to get out of his situation.
Looks like a simple solution. Yes it is! -- how simple the solution to many very complex problems. And then I realised this for I have felt it before, that this person may find it difficult if not impossible to count his blessings. So I told her, tell him that he should first be grateful that you know about his situation and should be grateful that you have called him to tell him to count his blessing. Even if he does not believe that is a good omen, he should still say to God: 'thank you for making me receive this call to count my blessings'. I remember asking a group of young people to tell me specific things that they were grateful for.
About half of the membership said they are grateful for everything. I still insisted that they should mention specific things. And some murmured that they are simply grateful to God for everything. So I asked 'why are you finding it difficult to mention specific things'? The truth is, there are times say Thank you to God in our prayers without meaning it. That is not gratitude to God! Interestingly, those moments we say thank you God out of the blue, are more meaningful and you and I know we actually meant it.
Counting your blessings can be difficult. This is because more often than not, we are so absorbed in the problem that we virtually fail to see any positive thing. But we will need to inculcate the attitude of counting our blessings. It should be our way of life. We have no idea what miracle counting our blessings could do. So I think to myself, that this friend of my friend and indeed if it were you, could start by thanking God for the receiving the call.
He could thank God for his life at that defining moment because life no matter how bad it is, is still priceless and truth is - it is a sign of hope. He could thank God for yesterday no matter how bad it went for he lived to see another day. He could thank God for the people he interacted with including those who gave him a bad experience, for he has learnt one more lesson about life and the ways of man.
He could thank God for the food he ate and the water he drank because some have been hungry for days outside of their own will and desires. He could thank God for the air he breathed yesterday and didn't have to pay for it, and for the air he is breathing now because the air, though composed of many gases, he has an amazing nose and organ systems that only extracted the oxygen. He should thank God for the thoughts going through his mind this very moment. Yes he should.
He could continue to be grateful that he has lived each hour, that turned into days, days into weeks, weeks into months and months into years, and then he should simply say: 'thank you God because you have always been around, and I know that you will be around tomorrow too'. And I believe by now, he should begin to see how blessed he was and the fact that this moment was only preparing him for greater things to happen in his life and be a blessing to others. He could make counting his blessings an attitude and sooner than later, it could become his way of life! His life of grateful, like the psalms exposes us to, becomes a sacrifice a praise and of true worship.
You see; this person felt alone and broken because many of the people he regarded as friends had apparently betrayed him. You should realise that God had saved him without him knowing, for many a men of the world have become selfish (not selfless) and fickle hearted (not faithful). His friends were envious of the talent he had and what he was beginning to represent and thus have pulled away and gossiped about him. True friends are always happy for the progress of their friends. True friends will be the first to say Thank you God for what you have done for him, even though I don't have what I desired. True friends will celebrate his successes and concerns with him. He did not really have friends and now that he realises that, he should be grateful to God for this revelation.
He has become a wiser person and can choose his friends wisely thereon. We must simply understand that everything has a reason and everything work together for good of those who love God.
The lord has indeed been always around even when we have not been grateful to him when he has provided us with all we ever needed. Know that the Lord knows what we need, even though he acknowledges our desires. But because we, like this friend of my friend, never counted our blessings we do not know the innumerable blessings that surrounds us.
Remember that a parent may be unwillingly to give to a child her wants when that child is ungrateful. And so that child loses trust or faith in her parents because they do not give her whatever she desires. Deductively, the child has lost trust or faith because or her own ungratefulness. The reverse is true that when a child is always grateful, the parent go all out to provide just to see that smile and experience the air of gratitude coming from the child. The child thus begins to believe that her parents will never let her down no matter the situation. That is faith! We can then say that gratitude gives birth to faith. Can we count our blessings today!
For the many people who cry because they just do not have enough money, and cannot have the best of everything, it will interest you to know that others, who are far and truly generous (without strings attached) never feel bad that they do not have. They may only worry that they do not have the means to help the people they love and only know that whatever difficulty they are facing is only for the moment. That is a gift. And that again is the miracle of giving, apart from the fact that you become a blessing unto people. But then again, if you look hard you will notice that there are people who are indeed worse than you (in your perspective) and yet they are just happy.
And for those of you fasting, you should always thank God for the hunger you feel because you increasingly have come to appreciate the gift of food in every sense (flavour, taste, texture and the fact that it quenches hunger) and indeed the many channels and people through whom we get a meal on the table. So let's tell our friends: 'thanks for sticking around even though in the course of our friendship I may have been selfish and neglectful. You are a good person'. We will only discover that counting our blessings gives us more perspective about life and nature and the gift of love. That is a true gift.
So just give 'counting your blessings' a try. If you struggled, just be grateful that you at least started. But don't forget to make an effort to continue.
FACT: It is because the Israelites refused to count their blessings that is why the Lord rained his anger on them (Ps. 78).
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