Here in the States, most of us use the term tally to signify counting, adding up, and/or totaling an amount of something. Given this, perhaps it is fitting that NASA astronauts should have adopted “Tally-ho!” After all, what better perspective to sum things up from than their vantage point, which allows them to gaze down upon the length and breadth of the whole world.
I thought about all these things today after I came across an article in the news declaring that the nation of Japan actually has twice as many islands as it previously thought. It seems that a recent recount has now found more than 14,000 islands.
According to the article, sources tell Kyodo News that the newest official count will more than double the number of the country's islands, from 6,852 to 14,125. In the last count, about 35 years ago, the Japanese coast guard counted by hand all the islands shown on paper maps with a circumference greater than 100 meters (328 feet), and didn't include islands in lakes.
But in the latest count, the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan—GSI—used digitized maps to count islands automatically, as well as aerial photos to cross-reference the results. They actually found over 100,000 islands, but only the ones with a circumference of 328 feet or more are included on the official list.
I was struck by the summary observation made by the reporter: “For an island nation, Japan appears to have been very bad at counting islands for a very long time.” More than struck, I was convicted by a sudden realization. Like so many people, I tend to look at my life, my relationships, my accomplishments, my accumulations, etc… all from a single given perspective. But in truth, that perspective is inherently limited.
It did Japan good to look down upon herself from above. Once she did, she undertook a little reassessment and discovered that she had twice as much as she previously thought she had. Similarly, I am reminded that if I step back from my limited perspective and consider things from God’s viewpoint, I just might be surprised at what all I see differently about myself and my life.
Surely I am not alone here. If we would be honest, how many of us get caught up in seeing what all we do not have, what all we have not done, where all we have not been, who all we do not know, etc… when we should focus instead on what all we do have, what all we have done, where all we have been, and who all we have known?!
Back in the day, it was customary to sing an old hymn by Johnson Oatman titled “Count Your Blessings”. Do you remember these familiar lyrics?
When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by. [Refrain]
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. [Refrain]
So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end. [Refrain]
These words remind us that our Lord is a good and gracious and loving God. The Psalmist clearly understood how Mr. Oatman felt. In chapter 40, verses 5-6, he declared:
“Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count. Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; my ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.”
And there it is - having one’s ears opened to the testimony bespoken by blessings far too numerous to count! So, my friend, “Tally-ho!” Tally away, tally long, tally hard, tally well, and when you have tallied some things up, you too will soon hear and see just how good God has been to you!
https://www.newser.com/story/331672/report-new-count-doubles-the-number-of-japans-islands.html. Posted by Rob Quinn, February 16, 2023.