Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Count your blessings is an old hymn that many of you probably sang in church through the years. I woke up singing this song in my head this morning. The chorus says, “Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done. Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.”
This song was written by Johnson Oakman, Jr. in 1897. Johnson was born April 21, 1856 to a merchant in Lumberton, NJ. His dad was proclaimed to have the finest singing voice in town. Johnson unfortunately did not inherit his father’s beautiful voice. I feel his pain. My dad sings making a joyful noise, but I can only make a happy racket.
Johnson wanted to take part in the ministry, and after working for the family business a while, he studied ministry and ministered at the Methodist Episcopal Church. At age 36, he discovered his musical talent that he had been searching for. His talent for song writing became apparent, and he penned 200 songs per year, and eventually over 5000 songs flowed from his pen. You will recognize “No, Not One” and “Higher Ground”.
From what I see researching Johnson, he was a man with a strong desire to lead others to Christ, and he had a strong desire to sing praise to our Father. However, he lacked the physical talent of a voice for singing. That did not stop him. He knew that God gave him a talent and an ability to serve, and he found that he was able to preach the gospel through songs that he wrote. What a legacy of beautiful praise hymns he left for us to enjoy over a hundred years later!
This morning as that song resounded in my head, I couldn’t help but count my blessings as I said my morning prayers. Sometimes we get caught up in all the bad things going on or even dwell on the bad things that we’ve been through. We start a poor pitiful me campaign in our head, and then all we can see is the trouble we’ve endured. BUT if instead of dwelling on the bad, we remember the good we start recognizing blessing upon blessing that our loving Father has bestowed upon us. Even in our darkest hour, He is there, holding our hand, blessing us through our struggles.
The last verse of this song is my favorite: “So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all. Count your many blessings; angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.” Today, spend some time counting your blessings and thanking God! I can’t sing, I’m not a song writer, but glory be to God that I can praise Him for all of the blessings He has given me!