“Good Night and Good Morning”

"…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Ps. 30:5)

     INTRO.: A song which tells us that while weeping may endure for a night, joy will come in the morning is "Good Night and Good Morning" (#427 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Lizzie Douglas Foulks DeArmond, who was on July 23, 1847, at Philadelphia, PA. At twelve years of age, she had her first poem published in the Germantown, PA, Telegraph. A graduate of the State Normal School in West Chester, PA, she married Andrew Goodrich DeArmond.  Around 1896, she organized the primary department of the community Sunday school at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church. These words resulted from her grief following the death of her daughter, around 1922. She wrote, "When God called my girl to live with Him, I felt I could not spare her, and it left an ache in my heart that was difficult to bear. The ever present, persistent question, ‘Why should my girl be taken?’ became the overwhelming burden of my waking moments. Why should it be my child?’"

     Mrs. DeArmond continued, "After several months of wrestling with this question, my health was affected and my faith clouded. Then one night, while I was pacing up and down on my lawn, there came to me the words as if spoken from the sky, ‘We Christians do not sorrow without hope. We do not have to say goodbye to our loved ones here, but we have that glorious hope of good morning over there.’ The message brought curcease from my sorrow, comfort for my heart, and stimulus to my faith. I hastened to my room where the poem took form. God gave me a song that has been a blessing in my life, as it will be to others who sorrow for loved ones." The tune was composed by Homer Alvin Rodeheaver (1880-1955). The song was copyrighted in 1922 by Rodeheaver and later renewed in 1950 by the Rodeheaver Co.

     In Lizzie’s early married years, the cares and responsibilities of life crowded out her writing. However, after she was left a widow in 1923 with eight children to support, the necessity of providing for her family forced her to renew that work, and short articles for various papers and magazines, librettos for cantatas, nature stories, and other literary pieces flowed from her pen. Other hymns by her are "O the Things We May Do" with music by J. M. Hagan and "If Your Heart Keeps Right" with music by Bentley D. Ackley. "On the Cross of Calvary," now attributed to Sarah Jean Graham, was once thought to have been penned by Mrs. DeArmond, who died at her home in Swarthmore on Oct. 26, 1936.  Rodeheaver sang the song at her funeral and at that of the revival evangelist Billy Sunday. It was also used at the funeral of the gangster John Dillinger.

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Good Night and Good Morning" appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch.  Today it may be found in Sacred Selections.

     The song focuses our minds through the sorrows of this earth to the joys of eternal life in heaven.

I. Stanza 1 talks about our passing into His kingdom
"When comes to the weary a blessed 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."
 A. The blessed release comes to the righteous weary first in death: Rev. 14:13
 B. This release puts one into the state of the blessed dead who await the time when they pass into the eternal kingdom of peace: 2 Pet. 1:11
 C. Then we shall be free from the woes that on earth we must bear and be in the presence of God Himself where there is no more curse: Rev. 22:3-5

II. Stanza 2 talks about Christ’s wiping away every tear
"When fadeth the day and dark shadows draw nigh,
With Christ close at hand, it is not death to die;
He’ll wipe every tear, roll away every care:
We’ll say good night here, but good morning up there."
 A. The fading of the day and the coming of night with its dark shadows represents the approaching time of death: Jn. 9:4
 B. However, while death is a physical reality, it is not the end because we go to be with Christ: Phil. 1:23
 C. And in that better land, He’ll wipe every tear and roll away every care: Rev. 21:4

III. Stanza 3 talks about our praising Him in heaven
"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."
 A. The "home-lights" may refer to those who have gone on before and with whom we hope to be reunited when the Lord returns: 1 Thess. 4:16-17
 B. It is through the wonderful love of God that we can have the expectation of being with Him and the redeemed of all ages in heaven
because Jesus died to make salvation from sin possible: Rom. 5:8
 C. Then we shall join with the angels and the saints to praise Him who called us to share heaven with Him by providing redemption through His blood: Rev. 5:8-10

     CONCL.: The chorus reminds us that while we must say good night here, there is a place where we can say good morning.
"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."
All of us will have our share of sorrows here on this earth, and we shall have to say "good night" on many occasions to those of our loved ones who pass from this life, and ultimately say "good night" ourselves to this earth. But thanks be to God that He has prepared a place where all the saved of earth will someday be able to say "good morning." Therefore, we should look beyond the trials and tribulations of this life to see the hand of God in both "Good Night and Good Morning."


3 thoughts on ““Good Night and Good Morning”

  1. A quick check of some blogs suggests that maybe you and I are the only ones familiar with this lovely gospel song expressing the Christian’s eternal hope. (And today is the 163rd anniversary of Lizzie DeArmond’s birth.) Thanks for a consistently informative blog!

  2. This was a favorite of my Dad’s – he has passed and he wanted this at his memorial service. I have found the lyrics, the sheet music and the instrumental version, but I have not been able to locate the song being sung. The granddaughters want to use it for the slide show.
    Thank you. need answer soon



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