[reprinted from December 14, 2011]
My life is down in the dust; give me life through Your word.
I told You about my life, and You listened to me; teach me Your statutes.
Help me understand the meaning of Your precepts so that I can meditate on Your wonders. Psalm 119:25-27 (HCSB)
It is that time of the year when everyone is happy and having fun! There is no sadness or stress about – well, except – how to pay bills, how to explain to your children that there won’t be presents, or illness, relationships, etc., etc. Twice in my adult life my employers did cutbacks on December 1st. I did not lose my job but many co-workers did. There were no severance packages, just an awful one-on-one meeting that ended with them going home in shock, struggling to think of what they might say to
I remember sitting on my floor pallet in my bedroom one night after I was divorced. My three children and I had moved into a new place. There had been a house full of their friends visiting that night. It was quiet and I was picking up my Bible. I felt so alone. “Where are You, God?” And I heard His Spirit speak to mine, “Count your blessings, Jody.” I was sitting on a blanket on the floor. That was my bed. I was alone for the first time in my life with the responsibility to care for three children who were hurting from the break-up of their family. Count my blessings??? Like a child, I thought of the alphabet and wondered if I could think of something to be thankful for that began with the letter ‘A’. To my surprise, I could think of something or someone who began with ‘A’ and ‘B’ and ‘C’ and…before I knew it I was tearfully thinking of many things.
That little exercise has come back to me again and again in the last 15 years. When I lay my head down for the night and feel “my life is down in the dust,” I start counting my blessings through the alphabet! It isn’t always easy. My flesh and the world seem to verbalize their evaluation of my life like they are speaking through a bullhorn! And it isn’t as though what I hear is totally wrong. There is some basis in reality! That’s the problem with distinguishing “right” from “wrong”. It is rarely “so right” or “so wrong.” “Right” in my life must translate into what is “God” in my life. Even suffering can be part of God and what He is doing.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NLT)
So if you are in a “fiery trial” right now and struggling to stay focused on God’s blessings in your life, take time to exercise your spiritual muscles. We find our perfect rest when we work out
Count Your Blessings by Irving Berlin (1954) Take time to listen and keep singing this song every day.