Today in church we sang Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons and I stood in the back of the sanctuary, as usual, with my toddler on my back in the carrier, correcting the other children in the pews around me, making eye contact and smiling at those who I missed greeting during the handshaking time; and all the usual Sunday morning movements.
As I sang the familiar words, I was struck with the lyrics as my eyes locked onto the week old widow less than 20 feet away from me. How unsettling it was for me to see her without her husband, two of the first people to make us feel so welcome when we were new, wrapping their loving arms around us. I wondered how surreal today must feel for her singing about praising the Lord for so many reasons, while grieving so fresh and deeply. The image continued with me as I found myself humming the last lines of the hymn all day. It turns out the lyrics are based on an old hymn Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven and Psalm 103.
David repeatedly blesses the Lord for all that He has done and continues to do, with the familiar line, “Bless the LORD, O my soul!” The Lord forgives and heals (v. 3), He redeems and crowns us with love and mercy (v. 4), He works justice (v. 6) and is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (v. 8). All of this is in one Psalm. It’s a wonderful reminder of God’s care for us here on earth in our trials and suffering.
Verses 15-19 address the fleeting nature of humanity but with the comfort of “the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him” (v. 17). When we love God, we need not fear death because, “The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all” (v. 19). We know where to find our loved ones who loved the Lord. They are counting the 10,000 reasons the Lord is so good, in His very presence.
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