Starting with the story of Matt at the Grammy’s, you’d be forgiven for starting to think this book was going to be a popularity thing. But it rapidly becomes clear that Matt is not like that at all. The book is so unexpectedly humble, and more an homage to the power of worship in the most testing of times.
The book is a collection of people who have been impacted by what is arguably Matt’s most famous song: 10,000 Reasons. But more than that, it’s a story of how Matt came to create this song and so many others that are central to our worship today.
My conviction is that the greater the storms we face, the louder our songs must be. I hope this book will encourage you to raise your voice ever louder in the worship of Jesus ChristMatt Redman
Early on in the book, Matt talks about how his early years formed his devotion to worship in a strong way. Dealing with the suicide of his father, and then being abused as a teenager, it would have been very easy for him to go off the rails, but in Matt’s own words: “Sometimes in that season nothing else seemed to make sense. But somehow this place of worship always did”.
The whole book is full of stories of worship being front and center during the trials of people’s lives. Matt refers to what we need as the ‘Rhythm of worship’:
Rhythm of worship: breathing in God’s wonders and then breathing out in awe and praise.Matt Redman
Each of the stories that Matt tells in the book is so intimate that I frequently found myself reading through the tears. I can only imagine how Matt felt writing this book, knowing that each of these intensely personal stories were centered around a song of his making. But Matt is very clear that he sees his songs as only a way of pointing people to God.
One of the stories Matt tells of his inspirations is the story of Horatio Spafford, who lost his four daughters when the ship they were travelling on collided with another ship and sank. As he travelled across the same sea to his wife who was one of the survivors, he penned this hymn:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
This song kept me going through some pretty tough times last year, and reading the circumstances around how it was written was heart-rending.
Perhaps we don’t really know what we’re made of until we encounter a little winter in our lives.Matt Redman
All the stories written in this book ‘remind us that God is not absent, even when we find ourselves in the darkest of nights’. The strength shown by the people Matt writes about is truly awe-inspiring. To leave this world singing songs of praises, so you can enter Heaven in the same way is a pretty fantastic thing to think about. Matt sums it up quite perfectly:
I often ponder that if we ourselves hear these stories and find them so moving, poignant, and powerful, can you imagine what they must mean to the heart of God? Can you even begin to conceive how He might respond as He sees His beloved children choosing to fix their eyes on Him and live out a life of trust and adoration during their most traumatic and testing moments?Matt Redman
I can honestly say that I’ll never sing this song in the same way again, the book has truly affected me, and I can say that this song has a power that I’ve never fully realised before.
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