God has given us a word that is especially fit for declaring his praise when all other language fails us. We often praise him in ways we can understand, borrowed from our finite and limited human experience. We praise his strength, his love, his justice, his mercy. But we also grow to realize, in fits and bursts, that God’s value and worth not only fill up our human categories but far surpass them. He is even more strong than we know. Even more loving. Even more just. Even more merciful.
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! (Revelation 4:8)
What, if anything, might you say when you stand for the first time before the throne of God?
In that moment, you might say, “Woe is me!” as the prophet did when he saw a vision of God on his throne (Isaiah 6:5). It wouldn’t be inappropriate for us to sense our utter unworthiness and inadequacy, to freshly perceive the chasm between us, as creatures, and our Creator — and not just as creatures, but as sinners. We have rebelled against the one who made us, the one to whom we owe all honor and allegiance. We cannot stand before him, on our own two feet, as deserving of anything more than his righteous wrath and judgment.
When Words Fail
Yet, in that moment, before God himself, however much woe we might own, it would not be right to focus much on ourselves. Surely, in the immediate presence of God Almighty, we would lift our eyes beyond our inadequacy and failings, and behold his glory, and declare his praise. And as we open our mouths to speak, to try to ascribe to our Lord the glory due his name, what might we say?
Would not human language fail us? What do you say, in finite human words, when standing before the infinite God?