Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Hi! I'm Bernadette, aka the Barefoot Hippie Girl. I'm more of a barefoot girl, than a hippie. But, "if the shoe fits, wear it." Or not, as the case may be.

Me and my Barefoot Hippie better half, in Borneo this month

I do write over at the Barefoot Hippie Girl. I write about my daily race. Pursuing God, and how God pursues me. The good, the bad and the ugly. My goal is to encourage my readers to wait on the Lord. To renew their strength. To run and not grow weary. To walk and not faint. I share recipes, devotionals, humor, and challenge "the box."

Sarah put out a call for guest posts this week as she is overwhelmed with Peyton and life issues. Here's a post that hopefully will bring encouragement to her heart, as well as ours...

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.

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 ten thousand beside!

How many times have we sung this hymn? In good times and bad. At church. At weddings. At funerals. God is faithful through it all.

One of the most poignant moments I sang this hymn was at my sister in law's funeral in November. She had died in a car crash earlier that week. I was singing this song, absolutely choked up. Asking "why?" yet knowing that God is faithful. (tearing up as I write this...)

That week chalked up as one of the hardest in my life. I still don't understand. We still miss Anneke like crazy. 

Yet, I am still convinced of God's faithfulness.

Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow...


Thomas Chisholm wrote this favorite hymn in 1923. Thomas Chisholm had been born at the tail end of the Civil War, and had now survived WWI. He was almost 60 years old and had seen much of the world. 

Over his lifetime, Thomas Chisholm had written many sacred poems. It is no wonder that as he was reading Lamentations 3 one morning, the words from verses 23-24 stuck in his mind. 

Through the Lord's faithfulness we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.

The truth of God's faithfulness had been experienced over and over again in Thomas' life, from birth, to conversion in his early 20s, to a life calling.

And, so these words resonated in his heart, and a poem was born. Thomas had a good friend, William Runyan, in Kansas. William had written music to many poems, and Thomas sent his newest composition off to William. And heard nothing more.

Imagine Thomas' surprise, when he was in a church service 2 or 3 years later, and they were told to turn to hymn number___and it was his poem. Set to a tune William had composed. And then had placed in a hymnbook he had been compiling. What joy must have coursed through his heart.

Yet, Great is Thy Faithfulness was destined to obscurity for over 20 years longer. It sat for years, sung by Christians only occasionally.

Until Dr. William Henry Houghton, of Moody Bible Institute, introduced it to Moody's chapel services, and it became popular with students and faculty alike.

As this hymn slowly rose in popularity, so did a well known evangelist, Billy Graham. Billy Graham did campaigns sharing the gospel and from the 1950s onward, Great is Thy Faithfulness became a signature song at most of his rallies. People heard it, sang it, and it became well known and well loved by Christians around the world.

An obscure poet, a composer, a hymnbook, a music leader, an evangelist...us. A long path, but how many, many lives have been touched through this hymn? How many have been comforted, challenged and encouraged by the truth of these words? In good times and bad? 

Only heaven will tell.

Praying for you, Sarah! Love...
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