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Words: James Vaughn Hill (b. Nov. 2, 1930)
Music: James Vaughn Hill
Wordwise Hymns (none)
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Note: Born in Portsmouth, Ohio, young Jim Hill had a role in forming the Golden Keys Quartet, in 1945. A graduate of business college, later in life he worked for a time as a sales representative for a shoe company, but music was a dominant avocation. He sang in quartets, and sang solos, making a number of gospel recordings. He also directed the choir in his home church. Jim Hill went on to win the Southern Gospel Music Award in 2012 for a long career of music ministry. The present song was written in 1955.
Have you ever had someone say to you, “What a day!…What day this has been!”? Likely, from the expression on the person’s face, or the tone of voice, you knew right away what was meant. It was pretty plain whether he or she was saying, “What a delight!” or, “What a disaster!” And we’ve experienced both ourselves, in our own lives and in our family, so we can identify.
That may be the time–especially if our friend has been having a rough day–for us to be good listeners. We may not be able to solve the problem. It may not even be the best time to try. But we can be a sympathetic sounding board. The Bible exhorts Christians to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). The concerns of one are to awaken the loving concern of others in the community of believers, because the members are connected spiritually, just as the parts of our physical bodies are connected.
“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (I Cor. 12:26-27).
We have many examples in Scripture of a sympathizing heart. In the first chapter of Luke we read of Elizabeth giving birth to John the Baptist, and “when her neighbours and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her” (Lk. 1:58). In John’s Gospel, we read of the death of Lazarus, “and many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother” (Jn. 11:19).
Looked at subjectively, some days take us completely by surprise, for good or ill. We may feel that our plans are set for tomorrow, but the new day brings unexpected challenges. Who knew the car would break down and cancel our trip? Who knew Junior would fall and cut his hand, and we’d end up waiting hours with him in the Emergency Ward. Proverbs warns, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1).
“You do not know what will happen tomorrow….Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’” (Jas. 4:14-15).
You just never know. Jim Hill didn’t. He was shocked by a day of trouble that hit his family. His mother-in-law was only fifty years old when she suffered a debilitating stroke. Jim was just a new Christian, and he puzzled over that. Why would the Lord allow that to happen to such a good woman?
Driving home from work one afternoon, he thought about the Bible’s description of that coming day when all such troubles will be put behind us. When “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). Jim exclaimed to himself, “What a day that will be!”
As he mediated on this, an idea for a new song came to him. Jim Hill was quite musical. He’d even studied opera, and had sung in gospel quartets since he was fifteen. Getting out of the car at home, he spotted a piece of cardboard and immediately began writing on it the words his song idea, while it was fresh in his memory.
He wasn’t sure it was any good. But Jim and his wife, and his sister-in-law went to visit the ailing woman and sang it for her. Her face brightened with a smile to hear it. That was sixty years ago, and the song he wrote that day became a gospel standard, recorded by a number of popular groups.
1) There is coming a day when no heartaches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye;
All is peace forevermore on that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be!
1) What things are happening in your life that make you long for our heavenly home?
2) What’s happening in the world today that suggests the time of Christ’s coming is not far off?
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