The popular hymn ‘Count your Blessings’ was sung at a church near my house last Sunday. As I listened to the words, I realized how easily we often overlook God’s goodness to us. We tend to forget the many acts of love he shows to us daily in our lives. So I attempted to list out some of the blessings I have received from his hands, just as the song prescribes, and I came up with the following:
I was born into a Christian family, five days before Christmas. God placed me within a family that believed in Jesus. And my birth in the Christmas season meant that I get to celebrate two births – my Saviour’s and mine. How cool is that!
My siblings were wonderful and caring (they still are!). I was their pet and the baby of the house, like all last-borns normally are. And they truly loved and cared for me. Because of the love I received while growing up, I think I can better appreciate John 3:16, though that love was much grander.
I enjoyed the loving care of my parents. Those who have enjoyed this grace know it is priceless; perhaps nothing is more essential for the proper development of a child. I was well fed and did not have to peep into our neighbours’ houses, nor did I have any cause to envy other children.
I was blessed with the opportunity of attending good schools, and the pleasant pictures and memories keep popping up in my mind.
I lived in the city of Kano for 9 years and my family was preserved during the violent conflicts which erupted at some points during our stay. During one of such crises, I ran into some hoodlums who, on sighting the car I was in, started shouting, “Here they are, here they are!” The car had its windscreen smashed but we managed to escape. Praise God I came out of the incident with only a little cut to my head.
My secondary education was in Oyun Baptist High School, located in Ijagbo, a peaceful town in the north-central state of Kwara. I was in the boarding house for the entire period. Looking back, this was probably my greatest blessing. For it was here I came to know the gospel, here I was converted, and here the foundation of my Christian journey was laid. I was groomed under the guidance and leadership of Christian brothers and sisters. Boarding house was tough, doubtless, but it was for me a training ground. And those years were the most formative of my life thus far.
God blessed me with knowledge and intelligence, and I was among the top students of my set. Upon graduation, he still showed me favour and I gained admission (on merit) into the University of Ilorin to study a course of my choice – Economics. I did not have to retake my O’levels nor did I have to stay at home for years seeking admission.
He saw me through my programme at Unilorin ( as we like to call my school). It was a tough ride; the course wasn’t as I had thought. Yet God kept me and strengthened my arm. I didn’t come out with flying colours, but I came out alive and well. During those years I grew in my understanding of the gospel , the knowledge of Christ and zeal for God’s kingdom. A vision was planted in my heart – a vision for the transformation of nations through the gospel. And it has kept growing since then.
I was posted to the southern state of Cross River for my youth service, far from loved ones, far from relatives. But God was with me. I was involved in a motorcycle accident once, but I wasn’t badly hurt. My stay in the state was actually quite fruitful. I kept growing in grace, I kept growing in wisdom. I was alone but not lonely. Books were my companions. And being alone gave me much time to study, think and reflect.
There is so much more I could recount of God’s goodness and mercy that I dare not grumble or complain.
Have you counted your blessings?