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Count your blessings in tough times
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“Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done.” Those words first were written in 1897 by a man named Johnson Oatman Jr. But they remain wonderful words of truth even today.  
I do not know the circumstances behind the writing of the song, “Count Your Blessings.” I have a couple of books that tell the stories behind many of the old hymns and gospel songs, but I do not know a story that would be attached to this one.  
I have to admit that I am curious. What led Mr. Oatman to write these words? This is the kind of song that one might write when going through some kind of trial. It could have been an attempt on his part to stay faithful and faith-filled. He may have been going through a tough time but then started thinking of all that God had done for him.
Perhaps that motivated him to write to himself, “Count your blessings.”  
I know that I am prone to having occasional pity parties for myself when things are not going well. My first thought is that I don’t deserve such hard times. After all, I’ve mostly been faithful to the Lord.
But there is a key word in that last sentence: mostly. You see, God has not been mostly faithful to me; he has been always and forever faithful to me. He has never failed me. He always has been good.  
The fact is that I have been through trials that I would not have chosen. So have you. That is the lot of all who live in this world. Life as we know it is hard. There are those times when we wonder if we are going to make it through the difficulties that come our way.
But I have good news for you. God is in the business of blessing his children. He may lead us through the valley to get us there, but his ways always are best for us. Nearly 30 percent of the book of Genesis is about a man named Joseph. Large portions of his story are about being sold by his own brothers, thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit and being forgotten by everyone around him. And yet God walked with him every step of the way.
Joseph’s story inspires me. This man of great integrity must have struggled at times to trust the Lord. Yet he stayed with it - and God blessed him.  
God continues to bless us today. I have a choice today. I can wallow in self-pity at those things that frustrate me. Or I can count my blessings. I think I might do the latter. I might need a calculator.
The fact is, God has been so good to me.

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