A New Song

     My husband likened it to playing “Whack A Mole.” As his father was in the hospital struggling with medical issues after hip surgery, the issues started changing by the hour. Nausea and lack of appetite became hiccups that wouldn’t stop, which became a recurring throat spasm, which became a possible stroke … every time the doctors addressed one problem, another one popped up. 

     And then on the sixth day, as my husband was getting ready to return to the hospital for another day of “what now?” the house phone rang. His father , who couldn’t speak night before, was calling with very explicit instructions on how to check the exterior oil tank to measure and calculate the amount of oil left to run the furnace. And just like that, new mercies began to pop up and we were reminded once again that “all we have needed, God’s hand hath provided.” (Great is Thy Faithfulness, United Methodist Hymnal p. 140).

     Our family’s joy from God’s saving help was palpable. Have you ever gone to bed thinking all was lost only to wake up in the morning to see God’s new mercies suddenly in place? When God steps in and rescues us, it is cause for great joy and celebration. Because God’s faithfulness is great, we can always rest assured that our troubles are not unnoticed or unimportant to our Maker.

     In our psalm today, we find words of thanksgiving and praise that enable us express the joy we feel when we have been helped. We are invited to sing to the Lord a new song. God is pleased by our praise and celebrates among us with the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Psalm 149:1-4

Praise the Lord!

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing God’s praise in the assembly of the faithful!
Let Israel celebrate its maker;
    let Zion’s children rejoice in their king!
Let them praise God’s name with dance;
    let them sing God’s praise with the drum and lyre!
Because the Lord is pleased with his people,
    God will beautify the poor with saving help.

     Our United Methodist communion liturgy includes this phrase: “It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” I love the emphasis on “always and everywhere.” It is always right to give praise to God.

     What would your new song be today? Is there anything in your life for which you have not properly given God thanks? Sometimes we overlook the small things, thinking that such triviality does not warrant attention. But God works in the small things, like the measure of oil in the tank that awakens a man in his hospital bed with urgency of purpose and new clarity of mind. There is nothing we can’t thank God for, as everything belongs to God and comes from heaven above.

     So today, take a moment to share your joy in a new song of praise for the small things. Did you wake up? Praise God. Do your shoelaces work? Thank you, Jesus! Was there toothpaste in the tube? Hallelujah!

New Mercies I See by Michelle Robertson

New Mercies

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.

Reflections of Waiting by Kathy Schumacher