May 30, 2014

Praising Through the Pain // Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Poor health stole the vitality from Thomas Obadiah Chishold's young adult life. Born in 1866, Thomas was often ill but had to work various jobs to make ends meet. At age 27, he became a Christian and soon found much solace and peace in the Bible. He entered the ministry but due to his health, was only involved for one year. But as an ordinary man with an unimportant lay position and health issues tackling his energy, he ended up writing 1,200 poems throughout his life.  He was specifically encouraged by the faithfulness of God in times of need and sickness. He clung to verses like Lamentations 3:22-23:
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, 
because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: 
great is Thy faithfulness.
During his young adulthood, he'd write letters to a friend named William Runyan (a young, unknown musician at the time). Thomas would include poems inspired by the Bible and among them was a poem that would become the well-known hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness in 1923. The hymn gained recognition by the Moody Bible Institute because a professor loved it so much, it became the unofficial school hymn. Two decades later in 1945, the world heard this powerful hymn through George Beverly Shea at Billy Graham evangelistic crusades. 
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: 
with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations.” 
(Psalm 89:1) 
God is a faithful God. The Bible is full of stories of broken people who found joy and peace in the faithful God. And today, our broken pasts and our hopeless future can be mended and filled with hope when we hold onto the faithfulness of a God who will not tire of us or let go of us even in the deepest hurt. His love is deeper than it all and He is faithful to the end. 
Great, oh yes, so GREAT, is His faithfulness!
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!

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.
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!

(Sources: 1, 2)


  1. I always am amazed at the stories behind these old hymns of God's working through the songwriters lives =) Learning a lot through your series Elle!

    1. Me too! It is such an encouragement to see that normal people who are aching and going through seasons of pain just like we all do, are using the dark valleys to praise Jesus. I know that I often fail to do this when I am going through a hard time, so I am learning a lot and growing in my admiration for these hymns

  2. This is one of my favorites too! I just love the old hymns! This is my favorite line: "Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
    As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be." Knowing that we serve a God who never changes or leaves is one of my favorite attributes of his.

    1. I love that line as well, Jess! What a comfort to know that He never changes and His love never fails us!

  3. Elle Alice,

    First, you have a beautiful name. Maybe I can convince my daughters to consider your name when they have a little girl. Secondly, your post was a beautiful reminder of Gods faithfulness! In fact, a reminder I needed this morning. Sometimes while waiting on God, especially if its been a particularly long wait...I find my faith quivering. Then I am disappointed in myself for allowing my faith to be so easily shaken. But the lyrics reminded my of my humanness and Gods Divinity, and in HIM we find the constant we need. Today I needed that reminder more than anything. Thanks for posting on this!


I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice