I have been listening to Chris Tomlin’s Christmas album from last year the last few mornings as I drive to work. It has lifted my heart and drawn me close to God in praise. It seems whenever I hear Chris lead worship, especially live recordings, I am ushered right into God’s embrace. He is gifted and humble and I’m thankful for him and his ministry.
Anyway, this morning one song really stuck out to me and resonated in my heart. “My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord…He has done great things for me, great things for me!” Those words of Mary’s spontaneous outpouring of wonder and gratefulness when she learned of how God planned to include her in the greatest event of all time became a cry of my own heart as I really listened to them and thought about them. God HAS done great things for me, for us, for everyone. When I’m caught up in awe and thankfulness, my soul responds like I imagine Mary’s must have.
What does it mean to magnify? I think of making larger, zooming in to see more closely, and making more obvious. I can’t make God larger, but when I share what He’s done for me I spread His name and fame to more people. When I realize the magnitude of something He’s done for me it’s as if my heart suddenly gets a high-definition close-up of my Creator, Savior, Guide, Protector, and Healer. His character is even more pronounced and clear to me.
When I looked up the word “magnify” today I saw that it came from the Latin word “magnificus” which means splendid. “Magnify” used to be used more in days long ago to express adoration, exaltation, a lifting up, almost showing off, and proclamation of God’s incomparable glory and goodness.
One of my favorite Psalms is chapter 103 which has these words,
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
I really miss being more involved in worship at church and I think that is partly because when I’m involved more I’m spending more time dwelling on the lyrics and messages of the songs, as well as just enjoying making music with other people to God. I connect to Him through music more than anything else it seems. Listening to these songs the last few mornings has really helped direct my attention to God again and all He’s done. I don’t just thank Him for providing material needs for me and my family, I thank Him for saving my life and my soul! I thank Him for unconditional, limitless, unchanging love and faithfulness. I want to go read all of Psalm 103 again – what a great reminder of many of the reasons why God is so worthy of our praise – worthy to be declared splendid!
Let all that I am praise You, God! With my whole heart I praise Your name. When I remember all You’ve done and all You’re doing now, my soul magnifies You.