“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 wilt 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!
This is one of my favorite hymns. I love the music (especially the harmony), and I love the message. If you read my last post, you probably noticed that parts of this song come directly from some of the scriptures I shared with you then. Thomas Chisholm (1866-1960), who wrote the words, felt he should include “as much scripture as possible” in his songs (Hymnary.org).
Chisholm was born in Kentucky and raised on a farm. He came to the Lord when he was 26 years old. He became a Methodist minister, but his health prevented him from keeping up with those demands.
He wrote 1200 poems and songs, including Great is Thy Faithfulness, which he wrote in 1923. He sent it to his friend and fellow minister William Runyan (1870-1957), who set it to music. The song was published that year. An interesting side note is that according to Songfacts.com, it became popular for Christian weddings. That is not one I would think of as a wedding song, would you?
William Runyan, the man who wrote that beautiful music, was born in New York, but graduated high school in Kansas. As I already said, he was also a Methodist minister, and served in that capacity in Kansas for about 20 years. Eventually, he went to Chicago, working with the Moody Bible institute as well as Hope Publishing Company, which is the company that published Great is Thy Faithfulness.
Runyan retired from Hope in 1948. He spent some time as a professor at Baker University in Baldwin City Kansas, and his family endowed a scholarship at the university in his name with the royalties from Great is Thy Faithfulness. (Hymnary.org) Of the song, Runyan said “This particular poem held such an appeal that I prayed most earnestly that my tune might carry over its message in a worthy way.”(Lifeway.com)I think God granted that request.
As for Chisholm, in 1941 he said,
“My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on 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.” (Lifeway.com)
The song has been recorded many times, by many different artists including Michael W. Smith and Josh Turner. Billy Graham used to include it in his crusades. In 2015 Jordan Smith performed it on “The Voice”.
For me, I just love to hear a choir, or even better, a congregation of believers singing this hymn of praise. Here is a video of something like that uploaded by Dutchforward. I’m not sure who the singers are, but I liked their performance.
See you in church!