O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!
Charles Wesley wrote thousands of hymns and was certainly prolific in his praise. He wrote this hymn to commemorate the renewal of his faith after a crisis of doubt. The line “O for a thousand tongues…” is powerful, because it reflects our limited ability to express the unlimited value of Christ and His work. As finite beings, we are not able to fully contain the knowledge of the infinite Son of God. The last verse of John’s Gospel concludes:
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
The Gospels are the most complete and sufficient record of Jesus’ life, yet they are also a selective record, as intended by God for our understanding. Even so, we fall far short in comprehending the glory of God. As Paul exclaimed:
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33)
Considering Wesley’s hymn recently, I wondered: “You can’t praise God with a thousand tongues, but can you praise and thank God a thousand times?”
That day, I began brainstorming as many points of thanksgiving as I could, first thinking of God’s character and His works. Every theological point that came to mind was typed out sincerely (not trivially). I also reflected on God’s providence spanning my life. It was the most exhaustive “Thank you” I had ever expressed.
How many points did I gather? Less than five hundred. After that exercise, I did feel profoundly grateful. The massive quantity of truths and blessings was too great to express at once. And I was only halfway!
When was the last time you were overwhelmed by the immensity of God? We cannot understand God enough, nor can we thank him enough.
“What shall I render to the Lord
for all his benefits to me?”