Great is your faithfulness

greatisthyfaithfulnessThis morning, at the meeting of our church, we sang an old hymn. “What’s so strange about that?” you may ask. Well, we normally sing more modern worship songs, and rarely sing what would normally be described as a hymn.

We sang these words in response to a moving account from one of our people about difficulties he had to face this past week. But through it all he had a conviction that God is faithful.

My fathers favourite

This hymn was my father’s favourite and we sang it at his funeral a few years ago. As a young man, I remember him preaching about the faithfulness of God. Being interested in astronomy myself, his description of binary stars stuck in my mind, and he described how the light from these 2 uneven stars would vary as they rotated around each other. God is not like that, his goodness towards us is constant, and not like those binary stars. “There is no shadow of turning with you”.


11 years ago I had a stroke. Some of the limiting effects remain, but I am grateful for one effect in particular. Since the stroke I am a more emotional person, and I am glad of that.

As we sung that hymn, without hymn books or overhead projector, the words I had sung so often in the past came back to me as we sung out. The trouble was that some of the words are so meaningful, that my voice kept cutting out, and there were sections I could not sing. Words like:

  • O God my father
  • There is no shadow of turning with you
  • Your compassions, they fail not
  • As you have been – you forever will be
  • All I have needed your hand has provided
  • Join with all nature in manifold witness
  • Strength for today
  • Bright hope for tomorrow

Before long tears were streaming down my face.

Great is your faithfulness

I hope that those who love this hymn will forgive me changing the thee’s into you’s but for me, this makes the words more relevant.

Great is your faithfulness, O God my father,
There is no shadow of turning with you;
You change not, your compassions, they fail not
As you have been – you forever will be.

Great is your faithfulness!
Great is your faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed your hand has provided,
Great is your 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 your great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endures,
Your own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


Author: George Dowdell

I was the founder of Karuna Action (formerly Kingscare) and was the director for 24 years. I have now handed control over to younger people but continue as an advisor and trustee. My passion is to see extreme poverty eliminated and to see justice for the powerless.

%d bloggers like this: