A Pathway of Blesssing
November 21, 2018
By Suzanne Tucker, Assistant Director of Worship and Arts Ministry
Great is Thy Faithfulness was written by Thomas Obediah Chisholm in 1923. Chisholm was born in a log cabin in humble surroundings. He struggled with unstable health that made steady employment difficult. He was saved at the age of 27 and began writing poems expressing his faith. Through all the ups and downs, he discovered new blessings from God every morning, and the third chapter of Lamentations became precious to him: His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). Thomas later admitted that there was no dramatic story behind the writing of that poem. It just expressed his simple faith.
It’s striking to me that this verse expressing thanks for God’s compassion and faithfulness is found in the book of Lamentations. This book is full of anguished cries mourning the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. It’s full of grief and sorrow. And yet here, we find this verse expressing new mercies and declaring that God is faithful. How did the writer of Lamentations pen such a beautiful statement of faith in the midst of his sorrow?
The answer is: He understood a great truth: our “attitude of gratitude” is not dependent on our circumstance. Gratitude is a game changer. When we allow a spirit of gratitude to color our view of the world, everything changes. We can shift our focus from the fact that roses have thorns, and instead be grateful that thorns have roses. John Milton said, “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” Gratitude unlocks fullness in life and turns what we have into more than enough. It is the parent of many other virtues, like charity, patience, kindness, and humility. Our “attitude of gratitude” is dependent on our faith in God and our acknowledgment of His purposes in our life.
Thomas Chisholm wrote another beautiful poem that is a favorite hymn of mine, “Living for Jesus.” The chorus says: “Living for Jesus, a life that is true, Striving to please Him in all that I do; Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free, This is the pathway of blessing for me.” Yielding allegiance–putting our trust in God–is the pathway to blessing. Walking that pathway brings sweetness to life and makes us gladhearted and free. That sounds like a life I can be truly grateful for.