Count Your Blessings...
By Paul Hayden
August 14, 2023
The past week has been a rough one for me. It helps me to look around and be thankful, being sure to “count my blessings” that are so rich in my life. Last week an old friend passed away at age 80. I went to see another dear old friend of 60-plus years who quite possibly didn't know me at all - she suffers from debilitating dementia. And an inferno of fire in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, where I lived for around eleven years, has destroyed the homes and all belongings of so many, including at least three couples who were among our best friends there.
How can you go on? What can there possibly be for which we can be thankful? How can you “count your blessings” during a time like that? In this life, there are going to be times when the understanding that we long for is just not there, not easily at least.
So many thoughts going through my head this week. But yes, I look around at what I have, and I count my blessings. I have a wife who loves me (I think…at least she's still here with me). I have my coffee maker in the morning. I have my bed at night. I can hardly imagine having everything that I own just totally destroyed in a matter of hours. I can't imagine having no recollection of an old friend that I shared so many hours with, even years ago. And I certainly can only barely imagine being dead.
There is a fallacious hope inside us humans that something like this could never happen to us. But it will, or something like it. Death is fairly surely going to meet up with each of us someday. Maybe not a fire, or dementia, but something calamitous, something painful and agonizing will come our way. And we will have an opportunity, a chance to see what is in us, what we really think.
Will we be thankful for what we have? Will we look to blame someone or something for our pain? Will we become cynical or bitter as to why this awful thing should be happening to us? Or will we grow in graciousness and thankfulness? We always have choices.
There are no promises anywhere that nothing bad will ever happen to each of us. God really owes us nothing. He promises to take care of us and protect us. But what does that really mean?
A Scripture verse comes to mind fairly quickly as I ask that question:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Over fifty years ago, I was in a Christian class about prayer and faith, and the teacher asked us if we knew what the million-dollar question was. WHAT IS THE MILLION-DOLLAR QUESTION? Do you know? It stuck with me and has been useful on and off through these decades. What matters is not only the answer to the question, but also to whom you ask the question. It also matters whether you listen and hear the answer. Here it is:
“Father God, what are you trying to teach me right now at this moment?”
Blessings to you all as we all seek to understand this life, what happens to us, and how we affect other people. It can be a mystery, as well as a blessing.
Something I saw again this week that I really love:
“You can look at life as though nothing is a miracle, or that everything is a miracle."
How will you choose to look at life?
Paul Hayden is a Christian believer, and an American patriot, necessarily in that order. He is a student of the Bible, and is avidly interested in our role in the context of history, as understood through the heart and eyes of faith. Paul has lived and traveled somewhat widely, and now lives in the heartland of the U.S. (central Illinois), with his wife Donna - they have five grown children. Since December of 2016, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of www.ConservativeTruth.org.
"I was raised by a Christian minister, Kenneth Hayden, until his death when I was 10. Then my mom married a farmer. So I was raised in a very down-to-earth home. My faith has grown through the years, but both in conjunction with the institutional church and through small groups and individuals, including books as well as group settings, where deep, sincere faith is shared that aligns with Biblical truth."