Even in the Darkest Times, God is Always Faithful

“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 (KJV)

As I opened my Bible this morning, my daily reading plan included the 3rd chapter of Lamentations. As my eyes fell on verse 22, I found myself humming one of the most powerful hymns that the Christian church has ever known. The following lyrics reflect the testimony of Thomas Chisholm, who penned this hymn and in doing so, gave the church a priceless gift that continues to bless us today.

“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.
“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!

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!

Whenever I hear this song, I think of my wife’s maternal grandmother, Dorothy Black. “Gra’ma B” was one of the saintliest women I have known in my life. Though she had her faults, like anyone else, she loved Jesus with all of her heart, mind, soul and strength.

Gr’ama died just before Valentine’s Day, 2012 at the ripe old age of 96. Age caught up to her many years before, however, robbing her of the ability to see. It was a sad day when she had to give up her little car, in which she would jet around town. She always made herself available to help as a hostess for various dinners and rarely missed a Women’s meeting at her church. But maybe her greatest ministry was one that didn’t get much fanfare — she would spend hours each week making encouraging phone calls to people listed in her church phone directory. In the last couple of years of her life, however, her ability to hear had diminished to the point that she eventually had to walk away from that ministry as well.

I remember on several occasions when we would talk, Gra’ma would tell me that she never wanted to live beyond 80. But she would always follow that comment with a smile and then say, “But as long as Jesus wants me to be here, I will keep telling people how much He loves them.”

As I read the first 21 verses of Jeremiah’s lament earlier today, it reminded me of how Gra’ma would pour out her heart to God. She didn’t understand why God would not “take her home” when her knees got so bad that simply walking from one room to another became a chore. It was frustrating to have to give up her driver’s license, making her dependent on others for transportation. She was disappointed when her dentures go so dull that chewing meat became almost impossible, and it was disheartening to her to feel left out in conversations because her hearing was failing her.

And yet, in spite of all those disappointments, she would light up when someone would come to see her, or just sit down for a simple conversation. And when we did, we would hear something very similar to Jeremiah’s words beginning in verse 21.

“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.” Lamentations 3:21-26 (NLT)

While Gra’ma was honest about the fact that the “golden years” of her life weren’t as desirable as the name sounds, she never failed to remember the many ways that God had been faithful to her over the years. Even when she had to stand over the casket of her only child fourteen months before she joined her in heaven, Gra’ma still dared to hope in God’s faithfulness.

I am convinced that if Gra’ma could speak to us today, her words would echo the last phrase of this great hymn, and she would say, “I trusted God to give me strength for today, and that bright hope that was promised for tomorrow is real. And the blessings really are all mine, along with the ten thousand beside me!”

Jesus, would you give us strength today to endure the challenges before us so that we can live with hope for tomorrow, where you have promised to surround those who remain faithful with blessing? Thank you for your faithfulness to us, and how it is fresh every morning!