Great is Thy Faithfulness (21 Jul 2013)

“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 familiar hymn “Great is Thy faithfulness” written by Thomas Chisholm was written with Lamentations 3:22-23 in mind. Singing this hymn does not only remind us of God’s faithful providence in our lives, but understanding this hymn in the context of Lamentations, should give us a renewed perspective whenever we sing it. For chapter 3 of Lamentations is filled with the theme and language of suffering, but right in the middle of the chapter, we find these hope-giving verses of 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

 There is always hope in the middle of suffering and difficulties for those who place their hope in God Almighty. In the midst of great suffering and darkness, the writer of Lamentations is able to find his hope in the Lord, ascribing it to the Lord’s great love, His compassions and His faithfulness. These wonderful attributes of God are steadfast, sure and eternal for they are new every morning.

 One must wonder then, how did the above declaration of God’s eternal attributes of hope and love come about in the midst of one’s suffering and difficulties? What led to this sudden outburst of hope, giving praise for God’s love and faithfulness in the middle of a lament? We find our answer in the verse preceding the above declaration, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.” (Lam 3:21). It is a fitting reminder for all of us going through suffering and difficult times that the battle starts with the mind. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Memory is often the servant of hopelessness.” In difficult times, it is often easier to think about the worst and to remember the hurts. But exercise our memories a little more to remember the promises of God. In facing the storms of life, make extra effort in calling to mind the goodness of our Lord, His love and His faithfulness. Do not give room for the mind to bring about hopelessness.

 If we continue to finish reading the book of Lamentations, we will find that the predicament of suffering and difficulties was not alleviated, but we sense a change in the language used in describing suffering and difficulties that the writer of Lamentations faced. Many times we face our own storms of life with a hope of seeing a change in circumstances. But a valuable lesson here for us is that in the midst of the storms we face, we should seek to have a changed perspective towards suffering and difficulties. A perspective that is grounded in the steadfast, sure and eternal attributes of God. And in calling these attributes of God to mind in the midst of our storms, the hymn “Great is Thy faithfulness” then gives a greater meaning for those who are able to boldly say Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.”

 Like a sweet song in pelting rain, is one who declares God’s love and faithfulness in the face of suffering and difficulties.


Brother Samuel Lim