Monday, July 18, 2011

Great is Thy Faithfulness

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. -Lamentations 3:22-23

One of the most beautiful hymns of our time is "Great is Thy Faithfulness."  The words started as a humble poem... one of approximately 1200 written by Thomas Obadiah Chisolm.  

This 'ordinary man' was born in Kentucky on July 29th,1866 and struggled with poor health his entire life.  In 1923, at 57 years old, he sent "Great is Thy Faithfulness" along with several other poems to his friend, Rev. William M. Runyan, a musician associated with the Moody Bible Institute and an editor with the Hope Publishing Company.  He was so moved by the words of this particular poem that he set out to write a score that would do it justice.  

When the hymn was published in 1923, and for several years, it garnered little attention outside of the Moody Bible Institute, where it was a favorite.  That changed in 1945 when it was sung at Billy Graham crusades.  From there it gained worldwide recognition.

At 75, Thomas Chisolm wrote:

“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.”

This man, who had plenty to be bitter and complain about, made a decision to be grateful for God's faithfulness... he found and appreciated the good things in his life, and thanked God for them.

Thomas Obadiah Chisolm lived to the old age of 93.  He helped to give us a wonderful piece of music which will surely stand the test of time.  More than that, this 'ordinary man' behind the music was a wonderful individual, who... to this day... is an amazing example of a man who faithfully trusted God.

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 

Great is Thy 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!



  1. "I have sought to be true to the Word, and to avoid flippant and catchy titles and treatment. I have greatly desired that each hymn or poem might have some definite message to the hearts for whom it was written." ~ Thomas Chisolm

  2. A favorite song of mine! Your comment here and the post are just what I needed! God Bless.

  3. I played this hymn on my trumpet a few months ago in church. I looked in to the history of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" at that time and happened upon Thomas Chisolm's inspiring story. Glad you enjoyed this post!


“Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless.”

~ Mother Teresa