“…And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17)
INTRO.: A hymn which reminds us that in heaven God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes is “God’s Tomorrow” (#426 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by Alfred Henry Ackley (1887-1960). Born on January 21, 1887, in Spring Hill, PA, he was the youngest son of Stanley Frank Ackley and the younger brother of hymn writer Bentley DeForest Ackley. Alfred’s father taught him music, and he also studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Graduating from Westminster Theological Seminary in Maryland, he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1914 and served churches in Pennsylvania and California. Also, he worked with the Billy Sunday and Homer Rodeheaver evangelist team and for Homer Rodeheaver’s publishing company, producing around 1,500 hymns. “God’s Tomorrow” was copyrighted in 1928 by Homer A. Rodeheaver. The copyright was renewed in 1956 by The Rodeheaver Co. Another of Ackley’s hymns appearing in some of our books is “I Shall Not Be Moved” beginning, “As a tree beside the waters,” but his most famous work is likely “He Lives.” Ackley died on July 3, 1960, in Los Angeles, CA. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, the song has appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 edited by L. O. Sanderson; and the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons; in addition to Sacred Selections.
The song points out some of the blessings of heaven to be received on the day of the Lord.
I. Stanza 1 calls it a day of gladness
God’s tomorrow is a day of gladness,
And its joys shall never fade;
No more weeping, no more sense of sadness,
No more foes to make afraid.
- This gladness or joy will never fade because we shall have eternal life: Mk. 10:29-30
- Such joy involves no more weeping or sadness: Rev. 21:1-4
- The reason is that there will be no foes there to make afraid: Rev. 22:15
II. Stanza 2 calls it a day of greeting
God’s tomorrow is a day of greeting;
We shall see the Savior’s face,
And our longing hearts await the meeting
In that holy, happy place.
- First and foremost, we shall see the Savior’s face: 1 Jn. 3:1-3
- There will also be the meeting with the dead in Christ who will be raised: 1 Thess. 4:16-17
- And we shall all be together in that happy, holy place: Rev. 22:1-5
III. Stanza 3 calls it a day of glory
God’s tomorrow is a day of glory;
We shall wear the crown of life,
Sing through countless years love’s old, old story,
Free forever from all strife.
- This glory involves wearing the crown of life: Rev. 2:10
- Those who wear the crown will sing love’s old, old story in the song of Moses and the Lamb: Rev. 15:2-4
- And they will be forever free from all strife because they will be at rest: Rev. 14:13
CONCL.: The chorus expresses the desire for the dawning of that day
God’s tomorrow, God’s tomorrow,
Every cloud will pass away At the dawning of that day;
God’s tomorrow, no more sorrow,
For I know that God’s tomorrow Will be better (some books have brighter) than today!
Years ago in a congregation with which I labored, a group of members got together once a month in one another’s houses and sang hymns. One evening when I led this song, evidently unfamiliar to them, a lady responded that it had “weird chords.” I guess that various people will have different ideas as to what is “weird” in musical harmony. In my experience, this hymn has not been much used among us, and it is not in most currently available hymnbooks. But as Christians, we certainly look forward to “God’s Tomorrow.”