“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” – Lamentations 3:22-26
These past few months have taken a toll on many of us. Quarantine, illness, lost jobs, and school closings have added to other personal issues of illness and stress. We all want to see God’s hand and faithfulness at these times. I always think of Lamentations chapter 3 and the beauty of the words “Great is Your Faithfulness” and the stirring hymn that is based upon them.
The author of the text was Thomas O. Chisholm, who was born in a log cabin in Kentucky in 1866. As a young man, his health was frail and he spent much time bedridden. At the age of 27, he came to know the Lord, and one of his favorite Scriptures became Lamentations 3:22-23. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.” He became a pastor at the age of 36 but had to retire a year later because of poor health.
He was able to take missions trips, and while away, he wrote his friend, William Runyan, a little known composer. Thomas often included poems in these letters. Runyan was so moved by one of the poems, he wrote the music to the hymn we now know as Great Is Thy Faithfulness. It was published in 1923. George Beverly Shea began to sing it at the Billy Graham crusades, and the hymn became popular. Thomas Chisholm became a prolific poet, writing over 1200 poems and hymns in his long lifetime. He died in 1960.
Read and reflect on these great words by Thomas O. Chisholm :
1 Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; as thou hast been thou forever wilt be.
Refrain: Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see:
all I have needed thy hand hath provided– Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
2 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
“O come, let us adore Him.”
In God’s love,