Day One Hundred Seventy-Eight “Funeral Dirge”
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. Penned by Thomas Chisholm, these words are a testament of God’s faithfulness throughout the course of a ordinary man’s life. Thomas, born in a rural Kentucky log cabin, led what we would consider an uneventful life, much of which was confined to a bed due to his fragile health. While on a mission’s trip, Thomas sent letters to his friend, a relatively unknown musician, William Runyan. William was so moved by one of his friend’s poems that he composed a musical score to accompany the lyrics. The hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness was born, and would go on to comfort and encourage many a Christian pilgrim.
Thomas would use the Bible Book of Lamentations as his inspiration for this great hymn of the faith. Lamentations, written by the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, is a funeral dirge for the city of Jerusalem, a series of five poems written in what was referred to as lamenting, or limping, meter. This Qinah rhythm was commonly chanted in the Near East, at funerals, during occasions of loss and grief, or during times of national calamity. In this short book, Jeremiah presents a tear-stained portrait of a city suffering a devastating holocaust due to their willful disobedience to the commands of their loving God, “Jerusalem hath grievously sinned, therefore she is removed.” The first word of the Book of Lamentations, Elah, is an exclamation expressing sorrow and sympathy. Alas! How sad it is! Jeremiah may have echoed these words of the psalmist, “put thou my tears into thy bottle,” as he wept with a broken heart over the destruction of his beloved city and temple, crying aloud: “I weep, mine eye runneth down with water.”
I have been there alongside Jeremiah, weeping and broken, devastated, weary from the burden of trials, lost in my heaviness and grief. But in the midst of this sad book, Jeremiah gives us joyful reprieve, for he makes a stunning statement as he throws out a lifeline of hope: “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.” When God is involved, not even a funeral can extinguish hope. My pain and sorrow do not erase God’s faithfulness and compassion, for as the words of my favorite hymn declare, Morning by morning, new mercies I see. Get up, face the day, and experience His mercies anew!
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.
Lamentations 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
Thank You, Lord, for being my Blessed Hope in time of despair and pain. I can always depend on Your faithfulness.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1632-648427444a257' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1632&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1632-648427444a257' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1632-648427444a257' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>