Count Your Blessings
May 2, 2016 • By Ed Wrather
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – Hebrews 13:15-16 NIV.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. – 1 Peter 4:12-16 NKJV.
In Philadelphia at the 122nd Penn Relays, Ida Keeling has set a world record in the 100 yard dash! She set the record in her age group of 80 and older and she is 100-years-old! Ida was not always a runner according to her daughter Shelly. She only began running when she was 67-years-old after her two sons were murdered. Ida shares the secret to her longevity: “Eat for nutrition not for taste. Do what you need to do, not what you want to do, and make sure you exercise at least once every day. I think God every day for my blessings.”(CBS Philly 05.01.16)
If you had two of your sons or daughters murdered, how could you praise God or thank God for your blessings? But that is what Ida Keeling does every day. It is also what God was in effect telling Job to do in Job 37:14, “Listen to this, O Job; stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” God told this to Job, whose seven sons and three daughters were killed in what sounds like it was a tornado: “a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house (Job 1:19).”
How can you keep on living after a tragedy? “Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” Instead of turning away from God, turn to God. In the end, that is what Job did. Job says to God at the end of the book of Job, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know (Job 42:2-3).” Too many times I have sought to comfort and pray with families that have had a son or daughter die in accidents or from natural causes. Those families who have drawn closer to their God during those most difficult times have found the strength to continue on with life.
We may not understand completely why some things happen, but we can still thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon our lives. In the counting of our blessings, in the praising and thanking of our God we are strengthened and infused with stamina, with the life we need to keep on living; for He inhabits our praises (Psalm 22:3). Let us rejoice and praise God for the greatest of all blessings that He has given to us: Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!