We sang “Great is thy Faithfulness” at our wedding. I picked it out because, as a fairly new Christian, it was one of the only hymns I knew. I hadn’t been a believer long enough to know many hymns or songs that meant anything to me.
When we sang it on that spring morning in Seattle, it was, of course, raining. Our voices filled the sanctuary and the rain hitting the roof was the steady drumbeat. In that moment I was thinking about how faithful God had been in the past—in sparing me from His wrath and saving me, in finding me a Godly man, in providing us with work and friends and a good church. God had brought so many people into my life to shepherd me onward over my seven short years of walking with Him.
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 will be.
I was also thinking about how God might be faithful in the future. Would we have kids? Would we find even more fulfilling jobs in our chosen fields? I couldn’t even think about one day having a house. Both my then-fiancé and I had liberal arts degrees (Stephen with a Master’s, too) but were working retail jobs, as the recession was just getting going. A house seemed too big a dream to even dream.
Hear Fernando Ortega sing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” from his album The Shadow of Your Wings.
But one day, I was sure, we would arrive. That is, we would find stability in jobs, home, family. We would stop the searching and hustling to get ahead. We were just waiting until that day would finally come.
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!
I’m sure you can see where this is going. It’s been six years since we took those marriage vows, and we have already seen some high highs and low lows. There was that time that we thought I had cancer and had to have emergency surgery. Then there was when my husband deployed for Afghanistan—four weeks after our first child was born.
Now we are facing a job loss with a mortgage to pay and two children to provide for. Yet I find that God is keeping me going with the small mercies He sends every day. A free haircut. A free pair of sunglasses from the eye doctor. A friend who gave me her basket of veggies because she was on vacation. A super deal I found on the right size of toddler boy clothes. These small gifts are how God is speaking to me. See, see me providing? I can hear Him say. And I wait more patiently and with more trust for the long-term job solution.
“They are new every morning,
Great is your faithfulness.” –Lamentations 3:23
The thing is, though, that I know now what I didn’t know when I sung that hymn at our wedding. I know now that we never really do arrive in stability. Every day until we die we will still wait on our daily bread, our manna from the sky.
And I know better today that these small gifts of sunglasses and vegetables are inconsequentially trivial compared to God’s faithfulness in sending His Son to die for us, to forgive us of our sins, and to make us righteous before Him. He is focusing my eyes further down the timeline—less on what job we’ll have next month, more on where we will be for eternity.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Yes, God is faithful in that He spared me from cancer, kept my husband safe in a war zone, delivered us two beautiful, healthy children. As the punch line of this great hymn shows, though, He was first of all and most importantly faithful in pardoning our sin and promising us an eternal peace with Him.
Truly, there is bright hope for tomorrow! For the eternal tomorrow, if we trust in that faithfulness that He extends.
Lindsey M. Roberts spent years writing exclusively for secular journalism, including such outlets as The Washington Post, Architect, and Gray magazine, before she first tried to write about Jesus. She’s thrilled to explore in words how everything from cleaning the kitchen three times a day to delighting in the maritime history of Nantucket is an opportunity to meet and glorify God. Lindsey lives with her husband, a pastor and U.S. Army Reserve chaplain, and two children in Virginia.
The beauty of simplicity and peaceful reverence are the hallmark of “The Shadow of Your Wings.” Artfully balancing tight vocals and piano with a string quartet, this album is one of Fernando’s best yet. “The Shadow of Your Wings” is a mixture of hymns and new songs composed by Fernando Ortega with simple and thoughtful arrangements. Produced by Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek) and featuring background vocals by Alison Krauss, Susan Ashton, Vince Gill, Dan Tymniski, Marsha Skidmore, Jonathan and Amanda Noel, and others.