Back in 1923 when Thomas Obadiah Chisolm put pen to paper and started to write, he had no idea that almost one-hundred years later his poem, put to music by William M. Runyan, would continue to be sung by Christians all over the world. As one of Chisolm’s more than 1200 poems, Great is Thy Faithfulness stands as the standard on the theme of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Kenneth W. Osbeck observes, “While many hymns are born out of a particular dramatic experience, this hymn was simply the result of the author’s ‘morning by morning realization of God’s personal faithfulness.'”
According to Osbeck, in a letter dated 1941 Chisolm wrote, “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.” What a great attitude! Amidst the challenging circumstances, he did not lose sight of what God, a covenant-keeping God, was doing in his life. We sometimes forget that our relationship with our God is a covenant and not a contract. When we fulfill our side of this ‘two-way promise,’ He is able to apply His infinite power and wisdom to our problems and trials. However, in our imperfection and no matter how many times we fail Him, He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13); His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness remains unfailing (Lamentations 3:22-23).
How great is this faithfulness? Chisolm writes, “Summer and winter and spring time and harvest / Sun, moon and stars in their courses above / Join with all nature in manifold witness / To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.” Everything speaks of this faithfulness. Why is this important? Because we can rely on it! As God has been in the Scriptures, He forever will be. Remember, He is a covenant-keeping God; with Him, there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17, KJV).
Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, God’s faithfulness is the primary constant. If you take the time to count your blessings, you will find many wonderful displays of it right where you are. Are you simply lucky or is it that God has been faithful?