Growing up, our parents may have repeated the phrase “count your blessings” to us over and over. We may have become weary of hearing it, but this is actually excellent advice. Counting our blessings leads to a mindset of thankfulness and gratitude. This kind of positive attitude opens us up to receiving even more blessings from God.
The more good things we receive, the more reasons we have to thank and praise God for His goodness. This kind of cycle is amazingly powerful. No matter how crazy life can seem sometimes, there will always be something for which to give thanks. Finding that silver lining when trouble hits, and choosing to focus on the good instead of the bad, can give us great joy. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17, 18, NIV).
Most people focus on the negative things because they only see what’s going on around them in the natural realm. However, there’s more than meets the eye in every bad situation. God has delivered us from trouble before, and we know He’ll do it again. One of the advantages of being in Christ is that we can expect supernatural help just when we need it; we can give thanks for this. “Always be joyful…Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18, NLT).
Happiness comes from how we feel at the moment, but joy comes from what we know. We know that we’re God’s beloved and that He has good things planned for us. When we have faith in this, we position ourselves to allow God to turn every bad thing into something beautiful and good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Good things don’t “just happen” by coincidence; there’s a reason for everything. God wants the best for us. Acknowledging all the good things He has blessed us with, simply because He loves us, keeps us from forgetting where they came from. “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (James 1:17, NLT). When we’re in the midst of something and suddenly things take a turn for the better, it’s because of God’s goodness, not because of our own efforts.
This knowledge gives us peace of mind, which is something the world doesn’t have. Peace is yet another blessing we mustn’t take for granted. When others are worried and stressed, believers are at rest and at peace. “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, NLT).
Giving thanks isn’t something most people do in times of trouble, but doing so connects us to the power of God. We can choose to wallow in self-pity, or count our blessings. “…Neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). An attitude like this strengthens us and lets us tap into the source of limitless joy.