Great Is Thy Faithfulness
1 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.
Refrain (may be sung after stanza 3 only):
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!
2 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.
3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Thomas Chisholm, the author of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and 1200 other poems was born in a log cabin in Kentucky in 1866, and he lived a pretty unremarkable life: he worked as a school teacher, a newspaper editor, and insurance agent, then he retired and spent his remaining days at the Methodist Home for the Aged in New Jersey. Unlike many hymns that have heart-wrenching stories behind them (for instance "It Is Well With My Soul"), "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" is inspired by the simple realization that God is at work in our lives on a daily basis. He 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." The hymn reminds us that God doesn't only work in dramatic or miraculous ways, but also in simple, everyday ways. It also reminds us that Jesus has never failed us in the past, so we have no reason to doubt his faithfulness in the future. --Greg Scheer, 1994
William Marion Runyan (b. Marion, NY, 1870; d. Pittsburg, KS, 1957) composed FAITHFULNESS for Chisholm's text in Baldwin, Kansas, in 1923. Twenty years later Runyan wrote:
"Mr. Chisholm and I were devoted co-workers, and I wrote harmonies to some 20 or 25 of his poems. This particular poem held such an appeal that I prayed most earnestly that my tune might carryover its message in a worthy way, and the subsequent history of its use indicates that God answers prayer."
Showing early musical promise, Runyan was a substitute church organist by the age of twelve. He became a Methodist minister in 1891 and served several churches in Kansas but turned to evangelism in 1903; he worked for the Central Methodist Conference for the next twenty years. Following that service, Runyan became pastor at the Federated Church at John Brown University, Sulphur Springs [sic: Siloam Springs], Arkansas. Editor of Christian Workers Magazine, he also served the Moody Bible Institute and was an editor for Hope Publishing Company until his retirement in 1948. Runyan wrote a number of hymn texts, gospel songs, and hymn tunes.
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" became an unofficial school hymn at Moody Bible Institute, and it was featured in the Billy Graham crusades in England in 1954. Thus it obtained popularity on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Sing this distinguished gospel music in harmony at a moderate pace.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook