"Thou changest not, Thy Compassions they fail not..."
I've never had a go-to favorite hymn. Several have circulated as seasonal favorites over the years, but there's never been one to consistently take the cake. I don't know that I'm ready to give "Great is Thy Faithfulness" the coveted "favorite hymn" trophy, but it has certainly had a consistent presence in my life, and yesterday I realized it certainly belongs on my list of favorites.
Somewhere around high school or college I learned that in faith, as in life, you cannot always trust your feelings or your heart. After all, we are told that our "flesh and our heart may fail.*" And they do. There are times we must lean on Truth--the knowledge we have which may contradict current circumstances, feelings, or emotions. This seems like an easy concept; one I figured I would grasp, apply, and quickly master. However, I've found the opposite to be true. This is something I have had to continue to practice and have finally accepted will be a choice I must make for the rest of my life.
So there have been times when I have sung "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with great gusto and joy from the top of my lungs, rejoicing at God's obvious displays of His faithfulness and goodness in my life. Yet, just as frequently, there have been times where I have sung this hymn through clenched teeth or clinched fists. With a somber tone or teary eyes. There have been days when it was all I could do to utter the words and say to God "I know this is true, I but I do not feel it at all." And yet each time I choose to sing it, choose to say that Truth out loud, even in my deepest despair, something flickers inside me, a little glimmer of hope. It doesn't make me instantly feel better. It doesn't solve my problems, it usually doesn't even stop me from crying, but it keeps me singing and believing, even if just a little bit at a time.
-Rejected from dream college: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" through tears
-New friends and a new ministry home Freshman year of college: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with rejoicing!
-First heartbreak: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with hurt, questions, and confusion
-Opportunities and honors at Auburn I'd always heard of, but never thought I'd have: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with thanksgiving!
-College graduation "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with fear, sadness, and also optimism
-The Fellows Program "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with exhaustion, joy, and community
-Several more heartbreaks: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with questions, doubts, anger, and pain
-Accepted to dream school for grad school: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with perspective on past rejection, rejoicing in God's providence, and amazement at His goodness
-13 months at an all men's college in rural Virginia: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with many days of "what am I doing here" but also friendships from guys who saved my sanity and made life fun
-Dream job offer in hometown: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with excitement and nervousness
-Blind date with a farmer from a small town 80 miles away: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with a feeling of "why not? what can it hurt?"
-Falling in love with and realizing I wanted to marry said farmer: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with thanksgiving, excitement, but still fear things going awry
-Getting engaged to the farmer: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with more joy than I'd ever known
-Resigning from dream job, leaving hometown to pursue new opportunities with soon to be husband: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with the oddest mix of joy and sadness I've ever felt
-Marrying the farmer: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" sung at the top of my lungs accompanied by a congregation of our closest family and friends as we became one on April 11th, 2015.
-Starting a new job in a new town: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with amazement seeing the path God had laid before me, yet still fearful of the unknown
-Yesterday, officially joining the first church family we'll have as our own new little family: "Great is Thy Faithfulness" sung by another congregation, this one without so many people I know so well, but full of people ready to welcome me and love me as their own, with Will and me standing in front of them, nervous, scared, but thankful to this place we have been led.
I don't know when I'll be singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness" next, but I know I will, and when I do, no matter the circumstances, its words will still be True.