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Seeing God’s ‘hidden’ blessings

CMS missionary Amy Stephens serves in Argentina, a country that continues to struggle with high COVID numbers and resulting economic and social problems. Despite the pandemic, she continues to meet with and train university students, often remotely. She shares how God is teaching her to count her blessings 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). 

Recently I received a note under my apartment door advising me that we wouldn’t have gas in the apartment building for six hours the following day. This is not a strange occurrence in Argentina. The problems started the next day.  

Again, a note under the door appeared. They had found a significant problem with the gas in the building which will be very costly to fix. The tenants will have no gas until the corporate owners can pay the bill to fix the problem. It may take at least two weeks, but it could be several months, depending on the owners’ ability to pay.  

No gas means no stove, no oven … and no hot showers! And the temperature in Córdoba has dropped over the past few weeks.  

Appreciating daily blessings 

This experience has opened my eyes to the ‘disguised blessings’ around me—the ones I receive every day and rarely think to appreciate.  

How often do I thank God for hot water? Or for electricity? Or for having drinkable water straight from the tap, that doesn’t need to be boiled to remove harmful agents. Even when I have thanked God for such things, it wasn’t based on actual experience or first-hand knowledge of people who don’t have these necessities. 

Challenge of poverty 

I was chatting with Zoe*, an engineering student, and telling her about my situation and how hard and frustrating it was. I made sure to mention that I was more fortunate than so many others in the world. Little did I know, those ‘others’ were closer to home than I realised.  

After a while Zoe asked me to pray for her aunt Elena* who had burnt her arm in an accident in her home. Intrigued, I asked what happened. Elena had burnt her arm when she was heating water over the fire in her home. After further questioning, Zoe described Elena’s normal, everyday living conditions—no electricity, no gas, and no access to drinkable water. Elena lives in a remote part of Santiago del Estero, a province in northern Argentina, and her situation is not unique.  

I was humbled.  

Maybe I will go without gas for a couple of weeks, or at the most a few months. But there are people who live daily without these basic resources. I am reminded of the song: 

Count your blessings,
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done. 

How often do you give thanks to God for every blessing in your life?  

Ultimate blessing 

The frustration of the gas outage has reminded me that our greatest needs lie beyond physical necessities. We need a Saviour to rescue us from our sins. And God has addressed this need! He sent Jesus. God has provided us with all we need in Jesus, the only true lasting hope, our ultimate blessing.  

This life is fleeting. We can work to build things that perish and fade, or we can seek to build the things of God’s kingdom that will never pass away. And that makes this life worth living, whether we have gas or not. 

* Names changed for privacy reasons. 

PRAY 

Give thanks for the multitude of blessings from God, but especially the precious gift of Jesus.