LIMITED PRAISE FOR UNLIMITED BLESSINGS?
“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your blessings – name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”**
Isaiah 38 begins with Hezekiah very ill and at the point of death and Isaiah telling him: “This is what the Lord says, put your house in order, because you are going to die.” Hezekiah was not ready to depart from this world and he tearfully explained to God why he should live. God heard his plea and granted him fifteen more years to serve as king. Reading this account I wondered what I would have done if I were granted a similar reprieve from death. I believe I would probably quickly thanked God and then start planning as to what I was going to do with the extra time added to my life on earth. However, Hezekiah, unlike me, didn’t just offer a brief prayer of thanks. He resolved to sing songs all the days of his life as lasting praise for his answered prayer.
For over a decade I have kept a daily spiritual journal in which I record concerns, prayers, answers to previous prayers, spiritual insights, and items of praise. Periodically, I re-read entries from the previous years and I often marvel how often the problems and prayer concerns, which seemed so major at the time, now seem so remote and are largely forgotten. A recent reading of Isaiah 38 revealed how quickly I dismissed my sense of gratitude after my petitions were granted. A common pattern seemed to emerge: I would offer a brief thanks to God and often would then submit another request!! I shook my head in dismay and considered how much patience and love that our Lord must have to put up with such limited and superficial expressions of thanks to Him for listening to my petitions for help. I have resolved to dedicate more time to praise Him and give Him on-going heartfelt thanks. Since this experience I now have maintain a list of blessings for which I to thank Him daily. By daily counting my blessings my eyes have been opened to what God has done in my life and in the lives of my loved ones and to count my many blessings.
** “Count Your Blessing” by Johnson Oatman, Jr. (First Verse)