Great is Thy Faithfulness was written in 1923 by Thomas Chisholm as a testament to his faith. He did not write it due to some catastrophe in his life; he was not ill or unhappy, he was an ordinary man leading an ordinary life and felt compelled to share his faith in God. This hymn is based off Lamentations 3:22-23. “The Lord’s loving kindnesses never cease; for his compassions never fail; They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness” (NIV).
This is one of my favorite hymns because it is not complicated or hard to understand. The refrain says it all: “Great is thy faithfulness.” Every day we see his “faithfulness”, his “compassion” and his “mercies.” The Lord our God never fails to inspire me; I see him every day in my family, co-workers, my surroundings, my church family, and most of the time I am hopefully being a reflection of these things as well. I do fall short as I am sure most of us do, but isn’t that what this hymn is all about? This hymn also teaches us that God provides all that we need (not want) in all our seasons of life. His mercies, compassion and grace are enough to sustain us because he is faithful.
I know after reading this hymn more carefully and pondering over the verses and the refrain, it gives me new hope and it has opened up my heart and eyes. It tells me he will give me strength, hope and blessings beyond what I could ever imagine, if I let go and let God to the work, and if I stop trying to have God conform to me instead of me conforming to him. I know God is always near to guide me, give me strength and lift me up.
I have worshipped God on many mornings with this hymn as it has encouraged me. What about you? Think back: can you remember a time or times when you felt alone and need to feel God’s compassionate faithfulness, but felt he was just too far away? Have you ever been at a crossroads in your life when you didn’t know what to do, where to turn, or what the future held for you or a loved one? This hymn is for you and for me. Did you recognize the “hand,” compassion, strength, presence or faithfulness of God?
I challenge you over the next several weeks of summer, as we all get busy with graduation, get-togethers , vacations and just enjoying our families and friends, to look for God’s faithfulness in your lives. I know I will be!
Kimberly K. Coulehan