15 June 2020
Counting our blessing and finding contentment.
Is this the time when your cupboards are sorted and cleaned,
the garden weed free and a lengthy 'to do' list is finally done?
Is restlessness setting in and it's becoming increasingly difficult to experience contentment?
If so, you are not alone, as I meet and talk to people while out dog walking
(keeping the appropriate social distancing of course),
I've found many people feeling the same way.
Finding contentment in difficult situations is not easy.
Is it possible to experience contentment during this time of isolation
when we are separated from our loved ones and not able to be out and about
do all the things we would usually be doing?
Has our internal contentment gradually vanished from our minds during this difficult time?
Are we feeling unsettled and dissatisfied with life?
The easing of the lock-down is increasing day by day,
but it is causing confusion.
If I go and see the grandchildren will that stop the other grandparents from seeing them?
Can I hug my grandchildren?
How can I get to my family in Devon without a car or going on public transport,
can a relative take me?
It's frustrating and a hinderance to peace of mind.
Author Daniel Defoe gave good advice for how to find the elusive contentment
through an example of his fictitious character, Robinson Crusoe.
Crusoe was facing many problems when he found himself a cast-away alone on a desert island.
The first thing he did was make a list of his problems
(presumably he had managed to save writing materials or,
perhaps, wrote in the sand);
then across from each of his problems he wrote down a blessing.
For example, Crusoe wrote, 'All my provisions are lost.'
And beside it he wrote, 'There's plenty of fresh water and fruit on the island.'
In his own way Crusoe discovered that for every problem he was facing
there was a positive aspect and a blessing to be thankful for.
The great theologian, Charles H Spurgeon, wrote,
'contentment is one of the flowers of heaven.'
While in prison Paul wrote;
'I have learned in whatever state, I am content.' (Phil. 4:11)
Paul had learned that the real secret of his contentment was routed in Jesus,
who gave him the strength that he needed in any situation that he faced.
It's easy to find ourselves mentally alone,
marooned on an island, losing out inner contentment and forgetting our blessings,
especially during this strange new norm.
Perhaps it is time to focus our thoughts on what we can do rather than what we cannot do.
Words from an old hymn come to mind,
'Count your blessings,
name them one by one.
Count your blessings,
and see what God has done.'
Do you remember it, does it bring back pleasant memories?
Or perhaps you are too young?
When you have a minute, take a pen and paper and begin to make a list
of the blessings God has lovingly given us.
It's easy to write down the problems,
however let's just concentrate on the blessings.
For example, a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep in, food on the table,
clothes in our wardrobes, family and/or friends.
Go ahead, try it, I think if we do,
we will be surprised at just how blessed by God we are.
Finally, as we look through that list of blessing,
let us remember to thank God for each and every one of them.
Especially for his love, provision and protection.