By Elizabeth Prata
So many conversations go like this:
Man 1: How are ya?
Man 2: I’m alive. Better’n the alternative!
Both: HAR HAR HAR
If you are a Christian, you know that is not true. The alternative which is, death to eternal life, is a wonderful alternative. As Paul said, “we prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:7-9). Paul also said,
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sakes.” (Philippians 1:21-23).
So the ‘alternative’ is far preferable, but as long as we’re here, we labor for the Lord, and seek to bring Him glory at every turn. One way we can bring Him glory is to count our blessings.
The Lord gives good gifts to His children. We may look around at our dire circumstances; they may be health issues, family issues, financial issues, joblessness, hunger, abuse, whatever it is in your life or my life, there is always something to be grateful to the Lord for. He gets glory when even in bad circumstances, we are grateful to Him for the good gifts He gives. He gets glory when we praise Him.
So far in 2021 my health is OK, I have a home, a job, health care coverage, a car, enough to eat, a great church, and friends. I am so blessed.
I also love where I live. Rural north east Georgia is full of animals and pastures and barns and ponds and trees… While I woke up one sad morning having learned of the Congress’ certification of Joe Biden as our next president, I sighed and I did what I always do: got to work.
As I exited the front door I breathed crisp but not frigid air. Such a blessing! I saw pinks and oranges of the sunrise. Another blessing! I heard birds chirping, wow, in the dead cold of winter, even! I drove in on good roads, that lacked traffic, with no vehicular issues. Blessing! I arrived at my school pleased to labor another day on behalf of the taxpayers of my county and for the children.
May it all glorify God. I am thankful that He is on His throne. He is ordaining all that comes to pass. His providential plan will always come to pass. We may see it all at once, but we can trust it! Here is Jonathan Edwards on God’s Providential works:
“God’s providence may not unfitly be compared to a large and long river, having innumerable branches, beginning in different regions, and at a great distance one from another, and all conspiring to one common issue. After their very diverse and apparent contrary courses, they all collect together, the nearer they come to their common end, and at length discharge themselves at one mouth into the same ocean. The different streams of this river are apt to appear like mere confession to us, because of our limited sight, whereby we cannot see the whole at once. A man who sees but one or two streams at a time cannot tell what their course tends to. Their course seems very crooked, and different streams seem to run for a while different and contrary ways: and if we view things at a distance, there seem to be innumerable obstacles and impediments in the way as rocks and mountains, and the like to hinder their ever uniting, and coming to the ocean; but yet if we trace them, they all unite at last, all come to the same issue. disgorging themselves in one into the same great ocean. Not one of all the streams fail.”
Count your blessings, and when you feel dragged down when looking around, look UP. Jesus is there to receive all your cares that you cast upon Him.