“Count your blessings.”
Have you ever heard that phrase? It’s not a verse from the Bible, but it is a theme we can certainly find in the Bible. Many of the psalms involve the psalmnist looking back and recounting God’s blessings in his life. The whole idea of memorial stones in the Bible seems to be a method of memorializing blessings from God. Really, we could find and discuss a lot of references in the Bible which speak to this idea.
My concern in this blog during this Thanksgiving week, however, is not that people in the Bible “counted” their blessings but why I believe there’s value in doing it. Why count our blessings?
I could use many of the psalms to make the following point, but since I was reading Psalm 61 when I felt God put this word in my heart, that’s the one I’ll use here. Specifically I want to focus on Psalm 61:1-3 (ESV):
1 Hear my cry, O God,David prays to God with confidence and faith believing that the Lord is going to answer him. Why? I think the key to that answer is found in verse 3. It's because God has already proven Himself faithful in the past as a refuge and strong tower to David. And here is the truth that I felt like God put in my heart as I was reading this:
2 from the end of the earth I call to you
Lead me to the rock
3 for you have been my refuge,
God's past faithfulness fuels our present faith.Our faith is not a blind faith. Our faith is a result of looking back and seeing God's hand on our lives. When we see how faithful He has been to us, it motivates and encourages us to have faith in our present circumstances!
So why count our blessings? Why take time to think about all the things for which we have to be thankful? Why take time to thank God for all He has done? So that we can remember His past faithfulness to give us the faith we need now. He has done it before and He can do it again!
This is the reason David points out God's faithfulness to him in the past. This is the reason Joshua set up the memorial of 12 stones in Joshua 4. And this is the reason we too should count our blessings and express our thankfulness for all God has done and accomplished in our lives this year: to have the faith to believe for Him to answer us again in the year to come.
So I encourage you to take some time to set up your own memorial stones. Count your blessings. Write them down. Remember all the good things God has done for you. Give Him thanks. Then when you're standing in front of an obstacle that seems so challenging, you can have the faith to know that God is faithful and that you can trust Him!
**UPDATE** I want to share an example of this that came yesterday morning before I wrote this post but after I had decided to write it. We were blessed to receive a generous personal cash gift from the Southern New England Ministry Network's Women's Ministry this year. We wanted to be able to use the whole thing for Christmas but needed to put 2/3 of the gift toward our credit card. Yesterday morning when we opened our statement of donations, we noticed that a friend had made a personal cash donation to us (totally unexpected) for the exact same amount of the other donation we needed to put toward our credit card. We were once again reminded that God is faithful, even in "simple" things like this.
** Want to read more? I wrote a blog a couple of years ago about how a hen came to symbolize God's faithfulness in our family. Check it out! **