12/23/2016 6:25:51 AM
I recently saw a picture on Facebook that caught my attention. The picture was a snowy scene with words printed across this picture that said, “On a positive note: I haven’t seen any mosquitoes in weeks!”
This picture got me thinking about how often we fail to appreciate many of God’s blessings. Often it is easier for us to recognize the things we don’t like rather than the things we do. We often are drawn into complaining about the problems of life, such as the snow and cold of winter, rather than recognizing the blessings that God grants, like a season without mosquitoes!
Thinking about this, my mind went to the words of Job. Job was experiencing horrible suffering. He had lost most of his possessions through theft and disaster. All of his children had died in a house collapse. Now he was suffering from an incredibly painful skin disease. His wife thought he should just give up, not only his trust in God, but even his very life. How was it that Job responded? “‘You speak as a foolish woman speaks,’ he told her. ‘Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?’” (Job 2:10).
Job knew that God was in control. Even if it didn’t look like it, Job knew that God would work through this in his life. God has given us this promise many times throughout the Bible. Maybe you could think of God’s words to Joshua, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Jesus himself encourages us with the promise: “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Or maybe you could think of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Romans, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
As we close out one year and begin another, it is good to take time to think about and recognize God’s blessings. As we do that, let us not forget to thank God for the blessings found even in times of suffering. Even when we are experiencing a hardship in which we cannot imagine how any good could result, we can still thank God. Whether or not we can see the blessings in the midst of our sufferings, we know that God has promised that he will bless us. He will make everything work for our good. And after all, no matter what happens in the coming year, God has promised that he will be with us.
So we can approach the New Year with confidence and contentment, as the writer to the Hebrews urges us, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).