Thursday, January 5, 2017

Don't Just Count Your Blessings, RE-Count Them!

Psalm 9, Verse 1 says:
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

It's so easy, isn't it, to get caught up in the struggles of life?
The disappointments.
The dashed hopes.
The shattered dreams.
Or just the little frustrations and irritations that come day to day. I think frustrations are like the little foxes the Bible talks about - little foxes that sneak into the vineyard to steal the grapes. These little irritations are like little foxes that try to steal our joy.

You know, things like the negative work atmosphere, or the family drama, health issues, or bad customer service...But what does David say here? David says 'I will RE-COUNT all of God's wonderful deeds' - His blessings.

Demetrius and I went for a little drive up the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge this fall, in the midst of a LITERAL storm - lightning streaking across the sky, booming thunder, and a torrential downpour. We were driving in this weather, on a twisty two-lane road on the edge of a cliff towering hundreds of feet above the roaring Columbia River, it was more than a little frightening and we even pulled to the side of the road once or twice when the rain was falling so hard the windshield wipers couldn't keep up!

Truly, we were driving just fine at a sensible speed, but the people who I assume live in that area and are more familiar with all the twists and turns in the road, were riding our tail like horseflies. That, on top of the unfamiliar terrain and the rushing river and the torrential rain, was too stressful so we pulled over to let them PASS!

It can be really tempting in circumstances like that to venture into this little area called Road Rage, but we were so engrossed in a conversation in which we were talking about how God has perfectly placed every little stepping stone in our path over the last 10 years or so, we were not bothered by the rain or the other drivers in the least. We were recalling how, for a lot of years we were really focused on the ground, going "What's our next step?" like we were walking in the dark, and couldn't see what was ahead. But we had fun talking through - RECOUNTING - how in the perfect timing, God has always provided the next step for us. And each little stepping stone that He placed and illuminated in our darkened path was a blessing. It was a step forward. It was a promise that He would direct our path, and not let us stumble even though we felt like we were walking in the dark. It was one more question answered. And it's hard to focus on the negative when your mind is thinking back and re-counting the positives.

I think David's habit of not just counting, but re-counting again and again God's blessings in his life helped him to not get so bent out of shape by the little frustrations. Bringing to mind God's amazing work helps us to maintain an attitude of gratitude. And doing so with a friend or loved one who knows what you've been through, or has gone through it with you, helps to grow both of your faith, and strengthens your relationship with each other. Try it! Have coffee or a phone call with someone this week who has seen you through both ups and downs, and let the focus of the conversation be to recount the BLESSINGS. See if remembering His gifts in your life doesn't give you strength and encouragement to keep going!

So that as David does in Verse 1, we can give thanks to the Lord with our whole heart. And then we, along with David, can say as he says in Verse 2:

I will be glad and exult in You;
I will sing praise to Your Name, Oh Most High!

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