Don’t Stop at 10,000 Reasons

You’re rich in love and you’re slow to anger
Your name is great and your heart is kind
For all your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

If I gave you a piece of paper and asked you to write down 10,000 reasons you’re grateful to God, you probably wouldn’t get a tenth of the way there before giving up. We’re fickle creatures, so easily forgetting the kindnesses shown to us. But if we pay attention we see the truth about God: he is good, and we will never run out of reasons to praise him.

The first 80 reasons

This past Christmas, I had a large Advent calendar hanging on the wall with a Bible verse and index card in each pocket. Every night before bed I’d write on the card at least three things I was thankful for from the day. More often than not I’d write four or five items.

Flipping through those now, I see God’s kindness to me in so many different ways.

Finding leftover caramel cake in the office fridge.

Exciting writing projects.

My neighbours coming along to our church carols event.

The Spirit helping me to show patience when I would normally have gotten irritated.

Sleeping in. Answered prayers. Bubble baths. Babies.

If I wrote three lines on those cards every day for a whole year, I’d exceed one thousand reasons for gratitude. In less than a decade I could list ten thousand specifics as I sang along with Matt Redman.

And then forevermore

But even that would barely scratch the surface of God’s goodness. He has been blessing me for far longer than a decade, and my daily graces go beyond just three or four. They are uncountable. Many of these didn’t make it onto my cards:

Blessings unnoticed

It’s easy to judge the decisions that characters make in movies and television. We are privy to scenes they didn’t see. We’ve got more information. Because we see the big picture, we can assess their choices more objectively.

Some days I struggled to come up with three reasons for thankfulness. If I were able to watch a movie of my own life, I’d see the foolishness of my ingratitude. God gives me wonderful blessings every minute. Because of my sin, selfishness, and discontentment I’m often blind to them.

Blessings forgotten

We find it so easy to remember the ills that have been done against us, and so easy to forget our blessings. By the end of the day, many of the kindnesses God has shown to me have disappeared from my mind. The cares of life take over and loom more largely.

What if we decided to write down every single instance of God’s goodness throughout a single day? Surely we’d have time to do little else! We’d note the gift of waking up to a new day and mercies, the food that sustains and delights us, the loved ones we get to talk to, the gift of our vocations, the blue sky and warm sun, the comforts of our modern houses. We shouldn’t let these be forgotten by the day’s end.

Blessings in disguise

When I think back over the course of my life, some of the things I’m most grateful for didn’t seem remotely good at the time. But pain has formed me more into the image of Christ. God promises that he will use all things in my life to bring me to that glorious end (Romans 8:28–29).

So I can be thankful even for the hard things. Until the very end of my life, I want to keep noticing the good hand of God leading me through each day.

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

 

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