December 17, 2017

Meditating on God’s Blessings

Beneth Jones

To the born-again Christian, Thanksgiving is far more than a designated day in autumn. It is — or should be — a state of being. With Jeremiah we can say, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

How can our year’s blessings be told? How may they be counted? If we attempt to number them singly — “one by one” — as the songwriter has said, our tongues will falter from exhaustion before we’ve half begun. And can God’s blessings be singled out, or are they woven and interwoven within the framework of our life so that to choose a single strand of the weaving is to do less than justice to the whole?

Then, if not by counting singly, perhaps we may categorize our blessings according to weight. But how can you weigh a husband’s smile, the thoughtfulness of a friend? What scale can accurately indicate the lovely gift of laughter or the blessed security of home?

Suppose, rather than try to count or weigh those things for which we are thankful, we should attempt to assign some analogous values to them. Each of us would then discover a treasure chest of gems: lustrous pearls of children’s smiles, warm rubies of Christian fellowship, diamonds of sound health, sapphires of daily provision. And for each jewel so lavishly bestowed, settings of purest silver and gold are given by our Father’s own hand and with His personalized design.

Or might we pigeonhole our blessings by size?

Immense: Our own patch of sky in its ever-changing garb—from sunrise chiffon to mid-morning taffeta; from afternoon voile through evening silks to night velvet. Green hills rolling away into a mist of blue.

Medium: Memory and its never dusty treasures. The ability to think, to reason, to dream, and to learn. Work that leaves mind and body drained for the renewal of sleep.

Small: Fat, crusty loaves of homemade bread. The fuzzy aroma of peaches ripening in the sun. The squeaking crunch of snow under winter boots. A dandelion-and-cattail bouquet standing on child-bent stems in a peanut-butter-jar vase.

On the other hand, what of categorizing blessings according to the senses through which we enjoy them? The sight of a bird glide-riding the wind’s roller-coaster, borders of bright flowers on a carefully manicured lawn, a fragile rainbow, and the mirror of its wonder in a child’s eyes; the sound of your name spoken by voices you love, a meadowlark’s soprano obligato to the throaty baritone of a mourning dove, rain on the roof as you drift off to sleep; the aroma of evergreen woods after rain, violets, a husband’s shaving lotion, baby powder on a small wriggling body, wood smoke drifting through crystalline winter air, summer’s hay fresh-stored in a barn, the feel of the wind and spray whipping your cheeks as you steer a speeding boat, the lilting spring of fallen pine needles beneath the soles of sneakers, the cuddling warmth of wool on an icy morning.

No matter how we attempt to take stock of our blessings, our minds boggle. We are tempted to end by murmuring a hasty “Thank You, Lord, for everything,” and go about our way. Yet much of the pleasure of blessings comes from dwelling upon them, of savoring them.

As difficult as it is to express the meaning and worth of our overflowing temporal blessings, it is utterly impossible to count, define, categorize, weigh, or measure our eternal gifts of the Spirit:

  • The inexpressible reality of personal sonship to the everlasting, unchanging, all-powerful God of the universe.
  • The soul-deep peace that only saving faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ can give.
  • The constant presence, tender guidance, and strength of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

And because of God’s unspeakable gift, all His other gifts, large and small, are multiplied, magnified, and enriched. In our hands and in our hearts are blessings without number which demand giving of praise and thanks throughout every day. “Praise ye the Lord. 0 give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 106:1).

Beneth Peters Jones is the wife of Dr. Bob Jones, III, Chancellor of Bob Jones University. For many years she wrote a column in Faith for the Family called “Sunshine on the Soapsuds” where this article was first published.

This article appeared in the November / December 1974 issue of Faith for the Family and is republished here by permission.

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