What is your favorite hymn? I have several, but “Great is thy Faithfulness” is way on the top of the list.
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 will be
Chorus: 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
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
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 10, 000 beside.
Would it surprise you to know that this positive and upbeat hymn is based on the Old Testament book of Lamentations? Here is the story:
Thomas O. Chisholm was born in a Kentucky log cabin in 1866. He succeeded academically even though he did not receive a formal education. Thomas became a schoolteacher at the age of 16 in the same schoolhouse where he was educated. He later became associate editor of the local newspaper and moved on to be an editor of the Pentecostal Herald in Louisville, Kentucky.
At the age of 26, Thomas made one of the most important decisions that he would make in his life when he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior in 1893. In 1903, he was officially ordained a minister, but was forced to limit his years of service due to his poor health.
Thomas wrote hundreds of poems throughout his life. One was based in Lamentations 3:22-23:
“22 Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! 23 They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”
Thomas sent this poem to a fellow minister and friend, William Runyan who configured a musical setting for the poem and called it, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
Let’s now read the full passage from Lamentations, written by the prophet Jeremiah as he reflected on the desolation of the once-proud city of Jerusalem.
Lamentations 3 (Common English Bible)
19 The memory of my suffering and homelessness is bitterness and poison. 20 I can’t help but remember and am depressed. 21 I call all this to mind—therefore, I will wait.
22 Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through!
23 They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.
Powerful words. What does it say to you? Are you watching destruction and desolation, and longing for God to intervene in your situation? What can you do? According to Jeremiah, you can wait.
24 I think: The Lord is my portion! Therefore, I’ll wait for him. 25 The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to the person who seeks him.26 It’s good to wait in silence for the Lord’s deliverance.
May we wait in silence today for the Lord’s deliverance from everything that has come to steal our hope.