Like many, for years I thought that God’s blessings included mostly things that he gave, such as happiness, health, and employment, along with physical healing and success in worthwhile pursuits. God deserves thanks for all of these, but we must admit that his gifts go well beyond what our eyes or minds ever notice. Those other blessings are easy to miss, yet they give daily evidences of God’s enduring love for us.
Those blessings are found not only in what God provides but also in what he prevents. Recently I saw a picture of our safely parked van taken on a trip out west by our family of six. We traveled over 7,000 miles without accident or breakdown, thereby demonstrating that God prevented any harm to my most precious earthly possession—my family—the entire way. Years later he saved me from a fatal heart attack by allowing it to happen near an emergency room. Those are just two of the big things in my life, but most of God's “prevention” blessings happen every day in ways we may never comprehend.
A friend once said that she didn’t get upset by an unexpected delay that kept her from leaving home as planned. She said it might have been God’s way of keeping her from going through an intersection just as another car ran a stop sign, thereby saving her life. We can’t be certain of that, but God foresees the future and guards us against many tragedies that we never realize are waiting. God repeatedly prevents potential front-tire blowouts on two-lane roads and keeps our body chemistry from going haywire every millisecond of every day. We need not live in fear, but rather in confidence, because God continually demonstrates his love in countless unseen ways—whether we acknowledge them or not.
God blesses by prevention in visible ways as well. After illness, we thank God for restored health, remembering that for most of us, he prevents far more often than he cures diseases. For those with chronic conditions, he provides love and care in ways only they can truly appreciate.
Through God’s restraint, storms are only sometimes destructive. Unfulfilled dreams are possibly nightmares in disguise. Broken romances are still less damaging than broken marriages. Life-extending medicines and methods given by God have lengthened lifespans.
A little reflection should easily demonstrate that our “guardian angels” have been on duty nonstop, usually without credit or notice except from God.
God blesses not only by what he gives but also by what he prevents. When we cultivate that awareness, our thankfulness for “blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside” can have an even richer meaning.