Collecting Blessings

Our world definitely has its woes, but sometimes our blessings also shine more clearly than usual. Sometimes it takes a new perspective to see how many blessings we really have. I was inspired by a professional photographer recently on Instagram who started a new project that highlighted the joys of family time. He offered free photo shoots to families across the US. But he wanted to offer this service while respecting social distancing guidelines so he asked them to pose on their front porches or at the window so he could take their portrait. Over the last two weeks, he has visited 146 homes and driven 1,365 miles to take these “porchtraits.” He’s showing in real life how many families are still staying positive during this trial. Even though there’s anxiety, we can also see this health crisis as an opportunity to reassess our lives and see what really matters. And as we’re taking a hard look at life, the truly valuable blessings can often sparkle more brightly.

Counting our blessings can ease anxiety, but sometimes a storm can also bring out more distinctly the blessings we have. For instance, in our current health crisis, so many of the distracting luxuries have been torn away. Suddenly we don’t have any movie theatres, sporting events, shopping malls, vacation trips, museum halls, tourist attractions. We’re staying at home with the basics—food, shelter, books, family, outdoors, walking, nature. Life has been trimmed down, but in the midst of this, we have a golden opportunity to recognize the truly important things. We don’t have to feel stifled and bored. We can develop a deeper appreciation for blessings that have eternal value. We can see God’s gifts from a fresh perspective.

This is not to say that we won’t have times of anger, frustration, and discouragement. The Psalmist Asaph describes these pains when he says, “I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.” (Psalm 77:1-4) But then he rebounds with praises to God by saying, “Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.” (Psalm 77:13-15) And then in Psalm 75, Asaph says, “We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 75:1) A new angle on God’s rich blessings can refresh our spirits and fill us with joy!