I remember some of the old timers testifying in my childhood country church, “I thank the Lord, that things are as well with me as they are!” If you had asked them to explain, they would have added: “There are a whole bunch of people who are in worse shape than me. I may not be rich, but I have enough. I am so thankful for what I do have. I could be dead. I should be dead. I can still do for myself. God has been good to me and mine.”
This phrase was well repeated in my childhood among my grandparents and parent’s peers. It was repeated enough, that I have never forgotten it. As a youth rolling his eyes at the repetition of old saints, it is now a soft but contact reminder of all they meant to say.
Recently, I was lying in bed with a stomach bug and feeling sorry for myself. As I attempted to pray, these words came off my contaminated lips, “Lord, I thank you, that things are as well with me as they are! My mind went immediately to the people I love who are battling cancer, back troubles, dementia, heart issues, old age, deep poverty, lost-ness, etc. My stomach was doing somersaults, but I realized I was in pretty good shape after all. My light affliction would soon “pass” and I would once again, be eating turkey dogs with mustard, chili, and kraut.
I remember praying on one of my better days when I told the Lord, “Jesus, if I never receive another blessing from You, all I can do is to thank You and praise You for the rest of my days.” Thankfully, He ignored my suggestion and after many thousand blessings since, I still find fresh blessings each day for which to thank Him.
How do we perceive blessings? It is not perception at all, it is a matter of opening our eyes. Another old-time saying, “A hog eating acorns under an oak tree, never looks up to see where they come from!” That probably describes many of us on our pity-party days. We just need to look up and see from where our blessings come.
Listening to the difficult stories of people and learning their history of abuse, depravity, poverty, sickness, and addiction; it makes you wonder how they made it through. One answer—God helped them. Even in the midst of the most difficult situations, God helped them. After listening to their stories, I have told more than one, “Yes, but you are still alive, and you are still here.
I think most people can go to a time in their life, when they questioned if they could make it through. Someway, somehow, they made it through. By the grace and mercy of God! Looking back, we are still amazed that we came through that situation with our sanity. Since, I am reminiscing of old sayings, my mother when she heard of someone’s difficult journey, would say, “I don’t know how they have walking around sense.” I agree with my Mother. It is only by the grace and mercy of God, “that we have walking around sense!”
There is a lot to be said for being thankful. Just to acknowledge God as your source goes a long way toward worshiping God. It is surely one of the first steps toward God. If you have a belly full of acorns, don’t forget to look up!
Harry L. Whitt