Understanding "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)"
Kwong Wai Cheng
About the Songs We Sing
Throughout the Bible, we read about people enjoying God through songs of praise. Indeed, music coupled with meaningful words, goes a long way to soothe our weary hearts, refresh our souls and help us connect with God again. Through this series, I hope to share my findings and reflections about some of the hymns we sing in church. Perhaps it will also help you to enjoy God better, just as it has helped me.
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
Written by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin (2011)
We all have a go-to song when we are down. “10,000 Reasons” was the song that encouraged a sister when her brother passed away. She shared that it helped to remind her how good God has been to her, and He was also there for her brother.
Co-written by Matt Redman (who also wrote “Heart of Worship”) and Jonas Myrin, this song went on to win two Grammy Awards for "Best Contemporary Christian Music Song" and "Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance" in 2013. This is a song that captures the heart. What captured me however, was the song’s title, “10,000 Reasons”.
Do we need 10,000 reasons to convince ourselves to worship God?
In the past, I would quickly and unfairly judge a person as “critical” or a “hopeless atheist” if I have to give her many proofs (reasons) of God’s goodness. I would have given up on the whole attempt if I could not convince her after the first try.
Now, my answer is: “Let’s take the time to find as many reasons as you want so that we can build a strong foundation of faith.” This is true not just for non-believers who are finding out about God, or new believers who are just starting out on their new life as a Christian, but especially important for old Christians who may be feeling sorely tested and hard pressed to remain faithful and find hope in God.
We all need to keep a personal list of God’s goodness to us, like a safety net, to catch us when we stumble and fall. Though the song says, “ten thousand reasons for my heart to find…”, but why stop at 10,000 when we should be finding more and more; because the more reasons we have on this list, the stronger our safety net will be.
If we WERE to sit down and PEN this list, will we be able to find 10,000 reasons?
I once wrote a list of 100 things I’m grateful to God for, and it took me a whole day to do it, and some of the things are actually quite similar… I can’t imagine writing a 10,000-item list! Can you?
Let us now consider Psalm 103, which inspired this song.
"Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
The wind blows, and we are gone — as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him.
Let all that I am praise the Lord."
(Psalm 103:1-5, 16-17, 22 NLT)
This Psalm showed me why David was called a man after God’s own heart (Acts13:22). David praised God with “all that I am”. His relationship with God was not for good or bad times only, when he was righteous or in sin, in his youth and prime or in old age… It was never segmented, but one continuous, on-going journey till the day he died.
In the same way, my worship should also be with “all that I am” – not just my today or tomorrow, my past or my future, in joy and thanksgiving, but also includes all my sins, my negativity, my pain, my flaws, the sufferings, challenges and disappointments – everything that made me who I am, and everything that will shape me in the future.
Matt Redman said when he was interviewed about this song, "We live beneath an unceasing flow of goodness, kindness, greatness, and holiness, and every day we're given reason after reason why Jesus is so completely and utterly worthy of our highest and best devotion." When we give God our “all”, we will be able to relate to Redman, to grasp the fullness of God’s forgiveness, His healing power, His redemption, His love, His tender mercies, His renewal… and this is barely scratching the surface of all that God is.
In addition, we do not need to find/write our “10,000 reasons” in one day, one month, or even one year. We have our whole life to do it. Seen in this light, the number “10,000” becomes insignificant. The song takes it even further, “and on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come. Still, my soul will sing Your praise unending. Ten thousand years and then forevermore”.
It is thus my prayer for everyone that when you hear this song, you can also be encouraged. May our hearts find 10,000 (and more!) reasons to praise God, be it on earth and/or in heaven, in blissful worship, 10,000 years and forevermore…
Kwong Wai Cheng
Wai Cheng is fascinated with words, especially the Word. Her life has always been revolving around words/Word, in one way or another. And she hopes to always hold fast to the Word, to draw strength and gain wisdom, to do the right things in God's sight. Wai Cheng has been a member of Central Christian Church since her campus days.