Posted by: rcottrill | September 6, 2013

Good Night and Good Morning

Words: Lizzie Douglas Foulks DeArmond (b. July 23, 1847; d. Oct. 26, 1836)
Music: Homer Alvan Rodeheaver (b. Oct. 4, 1880; Dec. 18, 1955)


Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The Cyber Hymnal lists more than eight hundred of Mrs. DeArmond’s songs. This touching number was written around 1922. The composer of the tune, Homer Rodeheaver, was a well-known gospel musician in the early part of the twentieth century. A soloist and song leader, a composer and publisher, he left his mark in many areas of sacred music. Mr. Rodeheaver was the music director for evangelist Billy Sunday’s meetings, and he sang this song at Billy’s funeral in 1935, and also sang it at Lizzie DeArmond’s own funeral in 1936.

Strangely, when notorious gangster and bank robber (of two dozen banks) John Dillinger was shot dead by police in 1934, Lizzie DeArmond’s song was used at his funeral. We can only hope it had spiritual meaning for some present, but all indications are that it was wishful thinking as far as Dillinger was concerned!

So many times, when we trace the history of our hymns, we find that they were written by individuals who were struggling with various trials. Perhaps it was a painful or prolonged illness, or a difficult experience or family tragedy they faced. Whatever the case, the Lord met them in it, in a special way, and they were comforted and encouraged. Not only that, but through it all they gained a deeper understanding of God and His ways. We are the beneficiaries of these experiences through the songs they wrote.

As author George Sanville put it, in discussing Lizzie DeArmond’s song, “Ploughing the soul with the sorrow of a great loss often turns into the furrow some nuggets of gold” (Forty Gospel Hymn Stories, p. 18). These lines of verse grew out of Lizzie’s grief at the death of her daughter. (It would seem the daughter was an adult when she passed away.)

For several months afterward, the mother struggled with bitterness and despondency over this loss. Finally, the Lord seemed to speak comfort to the troubled mother’s heart:

“We Christians do not sorrow without hope. We do have to say goodbye to our loved ones here, but we have that glorious hope of good morning over there….Just as surely as you have had to say goodnight here to your daughter, you will be able to say good morning up there, after awhile.”

It was these thoughts that led to the writing of Good Night and Good Morning. Understandably, there is a strong emotional element to this song. But it also speaks the truth about our heavenly home.

CH-1) When comes to the weary a blessèd release,
When upward we pass to His kingdom of peace,
When free from the woes that on earth we must bear,
We’ll say “good night” here, but “good morning” up there.

Good morning up there where Christ is the Light,
Good morning up there where cometh no night;
When we step from this earth to God’s heaven so fair,
We’ll say “good night” here but “good morning” up there.

Notice several things the song says about heaven that reflect truths in the Word of God.

CH-1. Heaven is “a blessed release” for the weary, where we’ll experience God’s peace, and be “free from the woes that on earth we must bear.” These words no doubt were a personal testimony of the author. Yes, there are woes here to bear. But one day they’ll be forever behind us. “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces” (Isa. 25:8). And “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them” (Rev. 14:13).

CH-2. “It is not death to die.” This enigmatic statement calls to mind the words of the Lord Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (Jn. 11:25-26). It’s a way of saying that death will not triumph at last, death is not the end, but merely a doorway into eternal blessing. Then earth’s tears will be wiped away, and it’s cares gone forever (Rev. 7:17; 21:4).

CH-3. “Home lights we see shining brightly above.” One of the most notable things about the heavenly city is that it’s a city of glorious light. The city doesn’t need the sun to illuminate it because “the Lamb is its light” (Rev. 21:23). And we’ll be at home there one day because of God’s “wonderful love” (Jn. 3:16). For all of these things, one of the chief occupations of heaven will be “we’ll praise Him.”

CH-3) When home lights we see shining brightly above,
Where we shall be soon, through His wonderful love,
We’ll praise Him who called us His heaven to share,
We’ll say “good night” here, but “good morning” up there.

1) Is there someone to whom you recently had to bid farewell, whom you’re looking forward to greeting in our heavenly home?

2) What to you are the most outstanding contrasts between this life and the next?


Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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