A few days ago Lynda Alsford posted here on counting one's blessings. Lynda often writes wisely, and I read her post with nods of agreement.It made me think of a book I reviewed some years ago by an American author, Julie Saffrin. The book is called 'BlessBack' and is well worth reading, dealing with the effects of expressing gratitude in a deliberate and positive way.
Lynda's post set me thinking about the myriad blessings in my life, all undeserved. Here in rural France I am particularly conscious of the bounty and beauty of our planet, God's gift to his creatures. Hay has now been collected by busy men in tractors, leaving the fields stripped and golden.
The maize is standing tall, but it will be taller still when it is harvested in October, to be stored as winter feed for the cattle. Those same cows and bullocks, unaware of the preparations being made for their benefit, loll about in the fields, lazily chewing. In the crowded markets the stalls are loaded down with produce, much of it local, a bewildering display of variety and colour. The summer fruit is brilliant and sumptuous - melons, nectarines, apricots. God's provision is indeed sublimely generous.
I have never really gone hungry or wondered where my next meal is coming from. The chances are this is true of many of us. We not only have plenty, but also the opportunity of choice. And for all this, and much more, I am truly thankful. But of course there are many in our world who battle with hunger and thirst, for any number of reasons, geography, and the carelessness and greed of other people, among them.
This makes me both uneasy and helpless. What can I do that will make a difference? Yes, I can contribute to disaster funds, support my local food bank, seek to avoid waste. But I can also pray, and this may be my most effective weapon against all I see to be wrong in our world. At the very least it makes me more aware, more open to God's leading; and I am certain that from my little prayers, offered sincerely and thankfully, God can and does reap a harvest of which I will probably know nothing.