Gabriel's Horn, George Weaver, June, 2016

posted Jun 1, 2016, 9:49 AM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Jun 1, 2016, 9:49 AM ]

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

 

I have a walking buddy who is prone to recalling old choruses and songs on our morning jaunts together. He often will say as we walk along, “Do you know this one?” Then he will go on to repeat or even sing the words he wants to share.

Recently he referred to “Count Your Blessings,” that old hymn which starts out as follows: “When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged thinking all is lost,” and goes on to say later on, “Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, and you will be singing as the days go by.”

 Those words were written over a hundred years ago by Johnson Oatman, Jr., who was born near Medford, New Jersey, on April 21, 1856. Author and minister, Adam Hamilton, in his book, Half Truths, refers to another person born in New Jersey, ten years later than Rev. Oatman, on Christmas Eve. Her name was Annie Johnson Flint, and Hamilton uses her as an example of someone, who in spite of severe challenges and difficulties, did not become broken or defeated. In her early twenties Annie was diagnosed with a degenerative disease which left her unable to walk or live independently.

 Afterwards, for the rest of her life, some forty years, Annie was bound to a wheelchair, living in a sanitarium where she was dependent upon others to provide for her physical needs. No longer able to continue her teaching career, which she had barely begun, Annie took up writing poetry, an interest she had developed during childhood living with her foster parents. As time went by, her illness caused the joints in her hands to swell so painfully that it was nearly impossible to write, so she began dictating her poems. Her intent was not so much to fulfill her own need to express ideas, but rather hopefully to help others who were living with the kind of challenges with which she was so familiar herself.

 She wrote many poems, but probably best known of all is one with four stanzas called “What God Hath Promised.” 

 

God hath not promised skies always blue,

Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;

God hath not promised sun without rain,

Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

 

God hath not promised we shall not know

Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;

He hath not told us we shall not bear

Many a burden, many a care.

 

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,

Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;

Never a mountain rocky and steep,

Never a river turbid and deep.

 

But God hath promised strength for the day,

Rest for the labor, light for the way,

Grace for the trials, help from above,

Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

 

Counting one’s blessings is a better antidote for troubles than bemoaning our problems.  

George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing         Ministries

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