That must be hard to understand when your troubles mount like a huge tornado above your head. Exaggeration, of course, but it means only one thing – troubles suck. So I’m not going to heap on advice because that’s not what one needs when the going gets tough. Nor am I going to plug in the cliché that ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. We’re not going there this time; we’re going in another direction but still on the plane of troubles.
Indisputably, trouble is on the plate on every person’s table. No one is spared although we fight it with everything we’ve got. At times we succeed in licking it, but most times it stands there immovable like a rock. So why doesn’t it leave no matter how much we want it to-- despite the tons of prayers we throw up to God? Honestly, I don’t know. But I do know one thing from my own share or experience of it -- there’s something in there for us to learn.
This is how I understand it. Trouble, problem, struggle or whatever name it is called is not the ‘enemy’. It is a friend and like a good friend, it does everything in its power to jolt us to our right senses. It shakes us to our roots to make us see and confront our weaknesses, correct what may be corrected, and move ahead with renewed resolve and fresh new hope. Troubles aren’t there to destroy or mess up life for us. We do that to ourselves using our fogged-up brains and wrong attitudes. Rather what it does is tell us that we need to stop-look-listen – because maybe something isn’t working anymore and may need to be changed.
But we seem not to see that, instead we are quick to ‘point the finger’ - heaping blame on anyone or anything, except ourselves. Well, how bout we try something different this time? How bout we shift our eyes away from what hurts us? Hard as it must be, yet what more can we lose? We’re already in the deepest mire of our woes, so if we get anymore it can’t possible hurt us more than we are hurting already. So want to give it a try?
Let’s do this then.
Whatever you’re doing, stop awhile -leave it—instead sharpen your senses and focus. See your surroundings try not to miss people or things or movement, catch the scent or scents flitting to your nostrils, feel the wind brushing your face, listen to the different sounds of life around you. Then let your mind meander through the snippets of thoughts roused by your senses come alive. Filter nothing. Instead recognize faces, occasions, experiences, memories. Now tick off in your mind those times you felt so much joy and happiness – the experiences which heightened your feelings of contentment and peace – the love and devotion of family and friends – the excitement of achievement and success – the satisfaction of good health and wellness – the security of provision – and other God-given fortune and pleasure in life.
Pretty soon you will be smiling with those memories. Not only because you remembered but because your heart has grown lighter – happier. The troubles you have been feeling will then seem to be pushed far to the back – forgotten in the joy of the moment.
There’s a name to what you’re doing, ‘counting your blessings’. If you look closely at the list you have ticked off, you will see that they are many—and if you break it down some more, it will double-up in number. See how it works? Your blessings are far more than your troubles. God made sure of that from the start.
So how then can one or two problems put you down – when you’ve got ten or twenty good things on your side working for you? Isn’t that more than enough to get you energized and recharged to get back on track again? Won’t that even spur you anew to more creative and aggressive solutions to your problems? And when you have triumphed or conquered at the end, you may even find yourself appreciating your troubles as blessings, too. Perhaps then-- that is the lesson and the reason for all our troubles afterall.
So shall we start counting blessings now? I’ll race you to it. J
posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 9:42 PM