Counting your Blessings

“Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your many blessings, see what God has done.”

When my oldest two children were preschoolers, we’d drive around town in our Toyota van singing along with catchy Christian children’s songs, like this one.  This idea of “counting my blessings” has further been encouraged by the current gratitude journal craze, where I’m encouraged to number out the blessings of my day.

So, I begin.  “Thank you, God, for mymany blessings …”

1. Jesus

2. Bill

3. Emily

4. Nick

5. Noelle

6. Daniel

But, wait, there’s something missing from this list … or, rather, someone missing.  In fact, two names are missing from this list.

Where are my two babies who died before they were born?  Where is my “baby #1,” miscarried just months after we were married?  Where is my son, Tommy, born still 20 years ago today?  Why aren’t their names on this list?  Why is it so easy for me to skip over their names when I’m counting my blessings? I know that the scriptures tell me to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18a). So, what should I do?

I choose to make myself look up with eyes open wide for God’s hand carrying me through each day. I choose to look ahead, looking forward to the coming rewards like Moses who “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:26).  Like Hebrews 11:6, “without faith it is impossible to please [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

These coming rewards may take the form of earthly blessings, like Job being blessed with more cattle and more children after he’d lost them all.  Or they may take the form of heavenly rewards, like those referred to in 1 Corinthians 3:14.  Or they may take the form of greater faith and confidence in God, like James 1:2-3, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”  We may not “count it all joy” for the trials, so much as finding joy for the result of them.

I, for one, know that my faith has grown deeper and stronger because of Tommy’s untimely death. That baby’s short life — and painful death — began a new trajectory in my life.  I wanted Heaven to be real more desperately than ever before.  I watched for God’s hand in my daily life more than ever before.  I searched the scriptures because they were bread for my soul, like never before.

Look up, look forward and look back.  God is with you.  Look for him.  Keep your eyes wide open and see Him work!  God is keeping count of your tears in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8 ESV).  He has not forgotten you.  “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:15-16a ESV)

Let me leave you with two songs.  “Counting Every Blessing” by Rend Collective; and “Blessings” by Laura Story

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Foundational … or Conditional?

I’ve been working through Kelly Hall’s excellent study guide, “Courageous Faith.” Today I’m pondering this question: “Is my faith FOUNDATIONAL or CONDITIONAL?” Kelly writes, “Foundational faith believes God’s character remains unchanged regardless of our changing circumstances.”

Today I choose to put my faith in God even when it’s hard, when the days are long and my prayers are not answered immediately. I believe that God is real, that He exists and that He knows me. I believe that He will never leave me or forsake me. I believe that He is able to do more than I can ask or imagine.

How about you? How can I pray for you? Are you struggling today to believe that God sees you, hears you and knows your every innermost need? How can you choose today to make your faith foundational, rather than conditional?
#foundationalfaith #courageousfaith #faith #evangelicalatheisttoevangelicalchristian

Isaiah 40:12-13 – of measuring

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel?” – Isaiah 40:12-13 ESV

I am 20 pages into, “None like Him,” by Jen Wilkin. It is reminiscent of “Knowledge of the Holy,” by A.W. Tozer, an all-time favorite of mine.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Wilkin’s words, “Who has measured everything? God has. Who has measured God? No one.” Let that sink into your heart and mind.

I must accept that, like all of God’s creations, I have limits, and boundaries, places I cannot reach. I cannot be two places at once. I cannot hear a thousand distinct voices at once. I cannot accomplish a multitude of different tasks at once.

But, God can. And He does.

God is without limit, infinite, immeasurable.

And, yet, He loves us. And, yet, He loves ME. He enters into time and space to show His love and goodness to His finite creation.

And all that I can do in response is praise Him.

Would you praise Him with me?