Dr. Charles “Chip” Kingery
April 6, 1954 – September 10, 2018
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at the Memorial Service for one of our Global Training Network staff members, Dr. Chip Kingery.
Chip was one of the most optimistic, warm-hearted people I’ve ever met. It was truly a privilege to work with Chip and Jean over the past 10 years as they served with GTN in Bangalore, India.
Before I got up to speak, Joni Eareckson Tada shared. Before coming on staff with GTN, Chip had served as International Director for Joni and Friends and Jean as Joni’s Director of Response.
After sharing a clear presentation of the gospel, Joni led everyone in singing the timeless hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness. As we sang together the words to this beautiful song, I was reminded again of God’s gracious faithfulness throughout our lives as His children.
I’ve sung and listened to that hymn hundreds of times in my life, but this time there was a greater “weightiness” to it. Joni’s incredible testimony of God’s goodness in the face of suffering is powerful. She’s lived as a quadriplegic for the last 51 years (after a diving accident at the age of 17). To hear her sing the final verse of this hymn brought tears to my eyes.
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
The line,“Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside,” was particularly meaningful. To hear Joni sing with such enthusiasm out of a lifetime of experiencing God’s grace in affliction was incredibly moving, to say the least.
Be encouraged, brother and sister in Christ. God is faithful.
His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:21-23).
He is with you and promises He will never leave you or forsake you (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).
He has “loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3).
A few months ago, my wife Lisa was able to attend The Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference in Indianapolis (along with almost 10,000 other women).
One of the final songs they sang at the conference was Great is Thy Faithfulness. I had a chance to view it online before Lisa flew home and it moved me once again. When she arrived home, I asked her:
“When you were singing Great is Thy Faithfulness toward the end of the conference, were you a bundle of tears?”
Her reply? “How did you know?” After 38 years of marriage, you learn a thing or two about your partner (today we celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary).
You see, for all of our married life, that song has been an anchor for our souls. We have rejoiced in singing it when we have been on the brightest, highest mountain tops… and have clung to the truths while in the deepest, darkest valleys. And we have found over and over again that… God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 10:23).
If you would like to listen to Great is Thy Faithfulness from the TGC 2018 Women’s Conference, you can do so here (led by the Austin Stone Worship Band). It’s both beautiful and powerful… reminding us of God’s gracious favor, kindness and mercy.