On Tuesday, Jan. 16, there was an electrical fire in the basement of the offices of The Courier. Our staff had just finished the February issue and had to vacate the building. Duke Energy disconnected the power, and it will not be reconnected until we make repairs and also bring our wiring up to the new codes for the city of Greenville.
The staff has been divided into four different working locations while we wait for the work to be completed. This has been an inconvenience, but we have been blessed with the technology to continue our work and provide the March issue of The Courier on time.
As I thought about this experience, I began to think about blessings, those beneficial and favorable things God does for His people. No one was injured in the fire. Our building was not destroyed, and we have insurance. We have been able to continue to work and communicate with each other through various means, including getting together in one place for weekly staff meetings.
Jeremiah 7:7 and Proverbs 16:20 say: “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” It is a blessing to be a child of God, and God blesses His children in so many ways. Eric Hoffer says the “hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” Charles Dickens wrote: “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
The idea of counting blessings may seem novel, but I can testify that it is so refreshing and encouraging when you actually do it.
Laura Story’s song, “Blessings,” and “Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me,” written by James Easter and his sons, are encouraging words about simply being thankful for God’s blessings even when they are disguised. Circumstances may change, but God never does. He is always and forever the same loving, righteous, faithful God. He causes all things to work together for good to those love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
As I thought about blessings, it became personal: my new-birth experience, the call to ministry, our marriage, our children and their mates, our grandchildren, and the time I had a near-death experience while on a mission trip to Honduras (not to mention being helped by an angel!).
There are so many more blessings I could easily list. As my thoughts on blessings continued, my heart was joyfully and deeply moved. Our oldest daughter, Becky, and her husband, Timothy, adopted a newborn more than five years ago. He has been a great blessing, along with our other two grandchildren (whose parents are Katy and Jonathan). Becky was told by her doctors that she likely could not have children. She had exhausted every means available, including surgery. At 37, her family was set — until recently, when she discovered she was pregnant! Her doctor went over her medical records, pointing out her history, then paused and said, “And you are pregnant. Wow!” Becky shared with the nurse that some people had been praying for her to get pregnant. The nurse replied, “That makes the hair on my neck stand up!”
The baby is due in June, and all the tests have been perfect. What a blessing! Needless to say, we are all excited and thankful.
As I studied and contemplated the subject of blessings, it became evident to me that God wants us to love Him as the blesser more than we love the blessings He gives us. However, I am convinced He wants us to recognize, appreciate and be thankful for all His blessings. Counting our blessings is a good and healthy practice. I believe that old song, “Count your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman Jr., published in 1897, is on target: “When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” The last stanza says: “Do not be discouraged, God is over all; count your many blessings, angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.”
Amen! Counting our blessings is not a waste of time, but a reminder of God’s faithfulness.