Karen Rees | @ICFWriters
Scripture: Luke 6:20-23
Do you know the hymn “Count Your Many Blessings”? Written in 1897, it was one of 5000 songs that Johnson Oatman Jr. composed during his lifetime – he died in 1922 - as a way to preach the Gospel. The song's message? Despite whatever hardships life may throw at us, God has provided us with countless blessings.
But I can't count a blessing I'm blind to.
Thankfully my eyes have been opened to a few blessings through working with a 98% female congregation of live-in household servants imported from the Philippines. These women, many of whom are married and are mothers, have to leave their families behind. They can only go back home to see them for a few weeks each year. Unlike them, I'm blessed to live with my husband and to have raised my children myself.
Despite the hardships these women face, they feel blessed to have a job in Hong Kong because it allows them to provide for their impoverished families back home. Of course, they'd prefer to have good jobs in the Philippines. Unfortunately, long-term endemic government corruption has helped ruin the economy and robbed them of that option. I'm blessed that my country doesn't have this problem.
I've discovered additional blessings since becoming involved with a Tamil asylum seeker family from Sri Lanka.
I have a passport and am free to come and go from Hong Kong. They've been stuck here, living in limbo, for the last eleven years.
I have the freedom to work and support myself. They're not allowed to work so are forced to rely on inadequate government handouts, charity, and begging to survive.
I decide how to use my time. They have to report to the various government authorities whenever ordered even when that means leaving their small frightened hospitalized child.
After my daughter married, I was reminded of another blessing. I can see the vast array of beautiful colors that God used in his creation. My son-in-law is color blind and can only see yellow. For him, this colorful scene would all be in shades of gray.
And thanks to working with generous Filipinas who love custom-made T-shirts, I'm blessed to have enough T-shirts to last the rest of my life.
The song concludes with this verse. “So, amid conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged, God is over all; Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give to your journey's end.”
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31b-32
Even as we count our many blessings and rejoice that we have such a loving God, let's allow him to use us to bless others.
What unexpected blessings has life revealed to you?
As a result she's eaten chicken's feet, baby octopus cooked in its own ink, barbecued pig's ear and several other delicacies that she didn't ask about.
Karen is the mother of two and grandmother of three, an avid reader, quilter, lover of history and an author of historical fiction set during the English Reformation.
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