«And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun— for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign and ever» (Revelation 22:5).
Joseph T. Webster, a talented Christian musician, was often tormented by deep feelings of depression.
One time, when he was feeling a bit melancholic, he was visited by an acquaintance, Fillmore Bennett. Since Bennet already knew one way to entertain his friend and make him stop mulling over his problems was to write a hymn, he tried to write lyrics that would direct his thoughts to heavenly things.
Without knowing it, the saddened man provided the theme for the song. Bennett asked him, «What’s wrong?» And he replied, «Oh, it will be alright by and by.» Inspired by that thought, Bennet sat down and wrote several poetic verses. When his friend read them, a ray of hope shone in his face and his attitude changed completely.
After writing a musical score, Webster took his violin and played the melody he had composed to go with the lyrics.
In English, the title of the hymn is “Sweet By and By.»
We seldom ponder on this matter. How different things would be if we thought of heaven more often, if we longed for that place more and our most fervent wishes were to be there!
«Although there may be a tainted, corrupted atmosphere around us, we need not breathe its miasma, but may live in the pure air of heaven. We may close every door to impure imaginings and unholy thoughts by lifting the soul into the presence of God through sincere prayer. Those whose hearts are open to receive the support and blessing of God will walk in a holier atmosphere than that of earth and will have constant communion with heaven» (Steps to Christ, ch. 11, p. 99).
Today, I invite you to look up a verse that talks about heaven and memorize it. Remember that the world that awaits us can become a reality. I also recommend that you listen to hymns and songs on this topic, so it occupies more of your time and thoughts throughout the day, and that you share them with a friend who, like Webster, may need a reminder of that joyful hope.