Friday, June 26, 2015

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

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 has been, thou forever wilt 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, and ten thousand beside!

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.

This is my favorite hymn of all time. And, now, at age 47 (OK, almost 48), I can still sing it with as much feeling as I even could. God is faithful. He knows how rotten chronic migraine is. He knows how miserable it is to be closing up The Knitting Nest. Yet, He's here and giving us little blessings through the whole thing. And reminding us of the bigger picture - my improved health by not trying to run a business that I can't and Patrick working in the school, which is clearly where God wants him!

What I didn't learn until early adulthood and what wasn't significant to me until a few years ago is that this hymn that celebrates God and his faithfulness is actually part of Jeremiah's lament in the book of Lamentations. Here's the quote:
Lamentations 3:19-33
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust
    there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.

This hymn that celebrates God's faithfulness was born out of a lament. The people of Israel were suffering in an awful way and this was their crying out God for relief. Yet, in the middle of their distress, they remembered God's faithfulness in the past.

This is what I want to do when I sing this song. To remember God's faithfulness and love and mercy despite whatever is happening now. Despite the headaches. Despite the life changes. God is faithful. 

1 comment:

mercygraceword said...

Deborah in Canada