The words of many of our most favorite hymns are written from dramatic life-changing experiences. For example, Charlotte Elliot was a bedridden invalid when she wrote the invitational hymn, “Just As I Am.” Horatio Spafford wrote the great comforting words to, "It Is Well With My Soul", after the tragic death of his children in a horrific shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean.
However, the words to some hymns come directly from the midst of the writer's daily routine of life! No drama. No tragedy. No earth shattering event! Just ordinary life!
That's exactly how one of the most beloved hymns came "to be!" Which hymn am I referring to?
None other than, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness!"
The hymn writer, Thomas Chisholm, who sometimes described himself as “just an old shoe,” was born in a log cabin in the back woods of Kentucky in 1866. He lacked formal education, however, he did became a teacher at the age of sixteen and the associate editor of his hometown weekly newspaper at the age of twenty-one.
He trusted Christ as His personal Saviour at the age of twenty-seven through the ministry of Henry Clay Morrison, the founder of Asbury College and Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.
He became a pastor when he was thirty-six, but had to retire after only one year due to poor health. After a time of recuperation, he moved to New Jersey to work as an insurance agent.
One of Mr. Chisholm's favorite hobbies was writing poetry. In fact over the span of his lifetime he wrote more than 1200 poems!
One day in 1923 he sent a collection of his poems to his good friend William Runyan, who was a musician associated with Chicago's Moody Bible Institute, as well as a worker for a hymnal publishing company.
While Mr. Runyan was on a trip to Baldwin, Kansas, he found himself leafing through the poems sent to him by Mr. Chisholm. He was immediately taken in by the deep meaning and sheer beauty of the words found in the poem, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."
Mr. Runyan recalled years later, "This particular poem held such an appeal that I prayed most earnestly that my tune might carry over its message in a worthy way."
The Lord did indeed honor Mr. Runyan's prayer. The melody for the poem came together, and the completed hymn was published that very same year!
The hymn is now known all over the world and has been used to encourage millions of Christians to trust in a faithful God.
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Though changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
** This first verse is a simple and yet deep expression of God's unchanging faithfulness and compassion based on Lamentations 3:22 "It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not."
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!
** The refrain echoes the faithfulness of God to extend mercy and compassion day after day. And God's promises to meet our needs!
"They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness"
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.
** This verse tells us of God’s faithfulness revealed to us in creation. The seasons, the sun, moon, and stars all continue on their courses perfectly, orderly, quietly, guided by God’s faithful hand, without any help from us! All joining together in praise to their Creator.
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.
** The final verse reminds us of God’s faithfulness revealed in our lives. The testimony of peace that comes through redemption. The assurance of God's presence which provides strength, hope, and blessings too numerous to count!
This hymn is an amazing reminder for us all that God remains FAITHFUL day in and day out in the greatest to the smallest circumstances of our lives.
Whatever challenges, trials, or disappointments you might be facing right now, this hymn reminds us that God’s promises are true, that He never changes, that His compassions never fail, and that His faithfulness to us in Christ Jesus is more than good, it’s GREAT!
with a pen
that never blots,
with a tongue
that never slips,
with a hand
that never fails."
"Father, there are not enough words to thank You for Your unending faithfulness towards us. Thank You for allowing us to see Your faithfulness each and every day in creation, in Your care and provisions, in Your presence with us and most of all Your faithfulness in the death, burial and resurrection of Your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Lord, thank You that Your faithfulness is not just good, it's great! May we endeavor to grow in our faithfulness to You, for You are more than worthy of our honor, glory, praise and complete faithfulness.
In The Wonderful Name of Jesus, Amen."
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May God Bless You,