This is day 17 of 31 Days of Songs and Stories. For an index of all the posts in the series, click here.
10,000 Reasons, by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin is undoubtedly one of the most popular worship songs of recent years. It has been sung in churches throughout the world as well as in other diverse settings, from the Royal Albert Hall to the cramped backstreets of a Mumbai slum. It even won two Grammy Awards in 2013. Personally I find that, no matter what, it is a song that always lifts my mood and draws me to reflect on the many reasons there are for praising God.
I was interested to discover a book by Matt Redman with Craig Borlase, which shares something of the story behind the song as well as several stories of the impact it has had on people around the world.
Chris Tomlin describes 10,000 Reasons as “a song that was sent from heaven” and it certainly seems that it was divinely inspired. Matt Redman writes in the book of how he and Jonas Myrin were alone in a little English chapel. It was 1.30am and Redman was tired and wanted to go home but Myrin insisted on trying out an idea he had for a new song.
Redman writes: “Those first couple of verses flowed out of us nearly as fast as we could write them down. I’m not sure I really knew where they were heading at the time, but as I typed those phrases that spoke of new days dawning and evening time coming, it just all poured out of us.”
Despite Redman’s description of the song as simply “four chords and the truth,” it has impacted countless people all across the world in all kinds of different situations. The book recounts some of these stories: stories of people who have clung to the hope expressed in the song through serious illness- some even having it played as they passed into eternity, the story of two men sentenced to death for drug smuggling who sang it as they were executed, and the story of a woman who drew strength from the song after the death of her granddaughter and responded by posting reasons to be thankful on Facebook each day, even in the midst of her deepest grief.
As well as stories of the impact of the song, Redman also shares some of his own story: of how God led him to become a songwriter and worship leader, and of how worship has sustained him during some of the difficult times in his own life, such as the death of his father who committed suicide when Redman was seven years old, and the abuse he endured as a teenager at the hands of his stepfather. I found his description of this particularly moving:
“After the abuse began, I found myself increasingly drawn to worship. I discovered that not only was the throne room of God a place of reverence, but it was also the ultimate place of refuge. It was my hiding place. Sometimes in that season nothing else seemed to make sense. But somehow the place of worship always did.”
If you enjoy Matt Redman’s music, I would definitely recommend this book. It is fascinating to see how one song can be used by God to encourage so many people in different ways through different situations. Many of the stories are sad, but all point to hope in God, and Redman also shares some of his own reflections on the power of worship in helping us to look beyond our circumstances to a God who is infinitely bigger:
“When we sing songs that point us towards eternity, they remind us that there is a plan and that there is a bigger picture. There is a God who is ever present in our stories, and for all the brokenness and confusion that clouds our souls here and now, one day we will encounter the fullness of His unfathomably bright majesty and mercy.”