Back in 1923, at the age of 57, the American poet and songwriter Thomas Chisholm penned the following words:
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!
This went on to become one of the world’s favourite hymns, including Paul’s and mine. As with undoubtedly many other couples, we sang this on our wedding day – proclaiming together with family and friends, “Great is Thy faithfulness”.
I thought I had already figured it out, at least logically in my head: God was, is, and forever will be 100% trustworthy.
And yet, and yet… 31 years later, looking back on that wedding day, I now know there was a secret fear within me; a fear so hidden, it was hidden beyond consciousness.
And I was to only first recognize it once it had gone.
It was a fear of failure, to be more specific, a failure in my faith. The buried dread was that, if a crisis struck, I would collapse like a house of cards. My faith in God would simply not be strong enough.
When a crisis actually hit, the truth was to be so liberating: Making it through to the other side of personal catastrophe has nothing to do with our strength and EVERYTHING to do with God’s; with HIS love, HIS faithfulness. And, for me, with this realization came a deep release from fear of failure, and fear of the future.
The Messiah stepping into human history is God’s initiative: it has nothing to do with our capabilities, and everything to do with HIS. It is The Supreme Divine Act of grace, of love, of faithfulness.
This Advent season may we walk into more freedom from fear.
Because His faithfulness is the bedrock of our faith. Not the other way round.
Questions for personal reflection:
Think of the past year. How have you experienced the faithfulness of God?
Share your story to your family and friends.
Consider sharing your story of God’s faithfulness on this thread.
Post a photo that reminds you of the way God had been faithful to you this past year.
Born in London, U.K., Ann has spent most of her life living in either the Netherlands or the Philippines.
She is married to Paul, who is Dutch – hence her ongoing battle to pronounce her own name – and they are proud parents(-in-law) of Joshua, Soesja and Jessica.
Paul and Ann have been part of the Church Simplified community since 2013.
They work at Young Focus, an NGO which tries to ensure children living in some of the worst slum areas of Manila are able to complete their education, from preschool to university (www.youngfocus.org).
While teaching English is her passion, and speaking is her joy, writing keeps her reasonably sane.
Blog at: https://medium.com/@annvanwijgerden