Who doesn’t love this song? Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) may have had a difficult adult life, with very fragile health and long periods of time when he was confined to bed, unable to work! He wanted to be a minister, but was forced to resign as a Methodist minister after only a year, due to his poor health.
Between bouts of illness he would have to push himself to put in extra hours at various jobs including selling insurance door to door in order to make ends meet, but despite how tough life was, he sure knew a thing or two about worship!
Saved at age 27, Thomas had found great comfort in the Scriptures, especially in the fact that God was faithful, and throughout his illnesses he learned that God was his strength. Lamentations 3:22-23 was one of his favorite scriptures: “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.”
While on a missions trip in 1923, he started exchanging poems with a musician friend by the name of William Runyan, who found one of Williams’ poems so moving that he decided to compose a musical score to accompany the lyrics. Great is Thy Faithfulness was published in 1923.
For several years ,the hymn got very little recognition, until it was discovered by a Moody Bible Institute professor who loved it so much and requested it sung so often at chapel services, that the song became the unofficial theme song of the college. But it was not until 1945 when George Beverly Shea began to sing Great is Thy Faithfulness at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusades, that the hymn rocketed to stardom and was heard around the world.
Thomas Chisolm died in 1960 at age 94. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 1,200 poems and hymns including O To Be Like Thee and Living for Jesus.
He had known many disappointments in life, including those long bouts of illnesses, and also writing a lot of poetry only to have it rejected by publishers. His burning desire was to write one song about how faithful God had been during his sickness and life’s disappointments, and I think you would agree that he wrote a beauty!
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!