By Janel Breitenstein
I wish I had more.
Sometimes my praise for God feels like a crayon drawing. I look back on the way I blew it with my kid that morning. The way I have morning breath and occasional body odor and bad habits in my anger. I think of how my sin’s blindspots have rammed into the people I love; how at times my closest spiritual relatives have been the Pharisees.
Then, I glimpse something that’s just like God would concoct: Something lavishly kind when I’m complaining, something gratuitous when I’m disbelieving, or simply something so elaborately generous. And I think, I wish I had more to thank You with; to give You what you deserve. O, for a thousand tongues.
Yet it seems that God delights in our broken worship; our prayers that whirl around, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” That He finds delight in us praying in the bathroom, and spending time with Him before we’ve brushed our teeth, and singing praise songs in the shower, simply because He sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Because He dwells with the lowly, and makes His first home in a stall ripe with animal dung. Because He inhabits the praises of His people, even as much as we bicker and boast and decay and fail. He delights, I think, not so much in our best act, but in His own stunning, transforming perfection.
Strangely, I see that in all He perpetually gives in our weakness, He even grants those thousand tongues. Jesus remarked in His parable of the four soils, Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold (Matthew 13:8). As we give away our faith, even to the next generation, so many more than a thousand tongues multiply, stretching over the canvas of time, around the longitudes of our planet: My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim: to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name. Our humble songs gather momentum, a throng of praise throughout history, in tongues ancient and contemporary.
In that way, O, for a thousand tongues! becomes a plea not just for more to please God with, but for God to continually be adding more honor for Himself in our lives: more discipleship of others, more complete and sincere love, more humbled repentance, more courageous overcoming of evil with good. More of You, Lord. Let my life praise You even more.
This week, may He add to the “tongues” of your life, generating more and more renown for Himself.