We found a remedy for this problem many years ago when Keith preached a gospel meeting in a small Arkansas town. It sat right in the middle of rice country where they could have sold mosquitoes by the ton if there had been a market for them. As we ate our breakfasts in the restaurant of the motel the church had put us up in, we saw three or four small wooden ledges in various places around the room, a foot below the ceiling. A small white box on each of them puffed every fifteen minutes. Finally we asked one of the waitresses and she told us they were automatic insecticide sprayers, and yes, they did work.
So when we got home we bought one. It is rigged to spray once every thirty minutes for the twelve hours of daylight, and it works like a charm. No more gnats hovering in clouds around the lamps or buzzing our eyes, and no more flies wandering the kitchen looking for tasty landing strips.
Though it is not silent, we never even hear this thing spraying any longer. We are so used to it that it is just a part of the surroundings. When we suddenly start seeing gnats or flies again, we know it has either run out of spray or the battery is dead. Right now I do not remember the last time I heard it spray, but I know it must be working because I do not have any problem with bugs swarming this monitor.
I am afraid we get the same way with God’s blessings. Which ones do you notice? Just the big ones, the ones that you especially prayed about yesterday or last week? Does that mean you have not received any today at all? Of course not; it just means that you are so used to all the daily blessings you receive that you no longer even recognize them.
When someone tells me to quit complaining and count my blessings, it usually makes me angry. Maybe that is because I must shamefully admit that I have reached the point of the Pharisees, who seemed to think that they earned their blessings. If anything bad happens, God has let me down. I have been so good and faithful, why did this problem happen to me? When the truth of the matter is, I have sinned too, so why not me? In fact, why do I receive any blessings at all because I don’t deserve a single one? I have forgotten just how bad sin is, and so I minimize it and maximize my goodness, which Isaiah tells me is no more than “filthy rags,” when compared to the holiness of God (64:6).
Because it is so plentiful and so “automatic,” I never even notice the good that God sends my way on a daily basis, and gripe and complain because He does not send more or does not send the specific good I want the most as quickly as I want it. If someone looked at a gift I gave him and complained because it was not the brand he wanted or he didn’t like the color, I would probably never give him anything else ever again. Think about that for a moment.
It may be trite, but make a list today of all the blessings you take for granted. God sprays them around profligately and we never even notice.
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly, Job 1:20-22.
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