Count Your Many Blessings

Considered one of Oatman’s finest hymns, the lyrics of his song covers a variety of negative situations in life. His intention was to encourage those plagued by these issues but the interesting element most do not know is that the song was originally published in Songs for Young People[1] – his target audience was youth. Unfortunately, thanklessness is a condition that some never outgrow. Oatman was inspired to write this song by incident of ingratitude; ten were cleansed and only one returned to say thank you. Hopefully, as a Christian, we will never have the regret imagined by this anonymous author.

The Remorse of Nine Ungrateful Lepers

(Luke 17:11-19)

I meant to go back, but you may guess

I was filled with amazement I cannot express

To think that after those horrible years,

That passion of loathing and passion of fears,

By sores unendurable—eaten, defiled—

My flesh was as smooth as the flesh of a child.

I was drunken with joy; I was crazy with glee;

I scarcely could walk and I scarcely could see,

For the dazzle of sunshine where all had been black;

But I meant to go back, Oh, I meant to go back!

I had thought to return, when my people came out,

There were tears of rejoicing and laughter and shout;

My cup was so full I seemed nothing to lack—

But I meant to go back, Oh, I meant to go back!


Let us never resent the gentle prompting to count our many blessings, and never forget that “if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord… all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2). We who are thankful can say with David: “My cup runs over” (Psalm 23:5).

Jeff Sweeten


[1] Osbeck, Kenneth W., 101 Hymn Stories, Kregel Publications, 1982, Grand Rapids, Michigan.