Monday, November 14, 2022

Commentary: Great Is Thy Faithfulness

By Douglas Hoy, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator

A few weeks ago, I was struggling. Facing health- related issues and problems at work, I was looking forward to a weekend camping trip. It was going to be a great opportunity to put those troubles and concerns behind me, if only for a few days. I packed the camper Friday morning and started my weekend, intending to meet my wife when she finished working that evening. I was 30 minutes into my trip when I felt the camper bounce and sway. And, before I knew it, I was sitting along the side of the road. 

The camper had sustained a flat tire. As I got out of my truck to inspect it, I saw rubber from the tire lying on the road, accompanied by torn air conditioning duct work and plywood. My heart sank. Approaching the back of the camper, I found the tire had shredded and had ripped away portions of the weather barrier and subflooring. The wire that reinforced the duct work was tightly wrapped around the axle of the camper. At that point, it became obvious that my relaxing weekend was over. I left the camper on the side of the road, called my wife to inform her that our plans had changed, and returned home to figure out my next steps.

I spent that evening removing the wire from the axle, with the help of my oldest son and some of his friends. I towed the camper to the garage and made arrangements to get an estimate for repairs. We made the best of the remainder of that Saturday. I was carrying the burdens of my health and work issues, along with my concerns about the camper as we walked in to the sanctuary Sunday morning. The service began and the praise team started singing.

“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.”

The band played. The voices of the congregation filled the room. And try as I may to prepare my heart and mind for worship, I could not stop thinking about the problems I was facing. Then, as the chorus rang out, I heard a voice. It was soft but distinct. I listened closely and the words of the chorus became extremely clear.

“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!”

I turned around to see a blonde-headed boy, not more than six or seven years old, with a big smile and singing with conviction. The words I heard were reassuring. Everything I needed would be provided, including solutions to all my problems. Just be faithful. As everyone continued to sing, I felt the burdens I had been carrying being lifted. I took a deep breath and joined in the last verse. 

“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!”

Thomas O. Chisholm wrote the words of this poem based on Lamentations 3:22-23, which eventually became the well-known hymn: “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.”

While it may seem strange to find comfort in a book of the Bible filled with expressions of grief or sorrow, we can be assured by these verses that God will be faithful, no matter what. He knows what we are going through. His presence provides all the hope, joy and strength we need to successfully confront our challenges. And, eventually we can take pleasure in the blessings He provides as we move through them.

When the world around us seems noisy and stress-filled and our lives look as messy as a shredded camper tire, take time to reflect on God’s faithfulness and the enduring peace and blessings He has provided.

Douglas Hoy, Disaster Response Coordinator

Phone: 717-766-7441, ext. 3402
Facebook: @SUSDisasterResponse
Twitter: @UMCDisasterResp
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