I love studying the stories behind hymns.

The story behind “When We All Get to Heaven” gave even more depth to the text.

Eliza Hewitt was born on June 28, 1851 in Philadelphia.  Her exemplary grades gave her the opportunity to teach school.  After a few years, her life was changed by a normal day on the playground with her students.  At recess, a student carelessly threw a rock and struck Eliza in the back.  The impact caused a painful spinal injury which forced Eliza to bed for months as she recovered.  Even after some progress, she was semi-invalid for the rest of her life with regular pain and a lack of mobility.

While she was confined to bed, she felt the presence of the Lord every day.  She began taking her time to study Literature and English as she recuperated.  Without being aware, God was using this time to prepare her for a work of writing poetry and hymns.  Many of these hymns were used in camp meetings and to teach children in Sunday School.  While not the type of teaching she intended to do, God used her mightily to teach young minds greater truths than she could have ever imagined.

She wrote hymns like, “When We All Get to Heaven,” “Give Me Thy Heart Says the Father Above,” “Sunshine in My Soul,”  and “More About Jesus Would I Know.”

The following hymn has meant to so many for so many years, but knowing the author’s story sheds some extra beautiful light to it.

When We All Get To Heaven

Verse 1
Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace.
In the mansions bright and blessed
He’ll prepare for us a place.

Refrain:
When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Verse 2
While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when traveling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.
Refrain:

Verse 3
Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him glory
Will the toils of life repay.
Refrain:

Verse 4
Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.
Refrain:

Meaning

Where is our hope when our plans for earth have been dismantled?  Where is our joy when our comforts have been removed?  Where is our peace when life seems to be not as it should be?  Our hope is in heaven.  Jesus has made a way.

We can rejoice now because we know that we will rejoice later.

Jesus said it this way:

“Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

The preparations we make for this life often come undone, but the preparations of Jesus are steadfast and sure.

While we don’t know how to prepare for our final day, know that for those in Christ, He has already made more than adequate preparations for you.  Take heart.

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.