Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

July 29

Virgil P. Brock, 1887–1978
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
The ability to see “beyond the sunset”—to anticipate the glories of God’s tomorrow—enables a Christian to live joyfully and victoriously in any of life’s circumstances. It is difficult for us to imagine heavenly scenes or to describe them with earthly symbols. The Bible does promise us, however, that there will be “eternal joy” in the “glorious presence” of our Savior “on that fair shore.”
Virgil P. Brock told how he wrote this favorite hymn about heaven:
This song was born during a conversation at the dinner table, one evening in 1936, after watching a very unusual sunset at Winona Lake, Indiana, with a blind guest, my cousin Horace Burr, and his wife, Grace. A large area of the water appeared ablaze with the glory of God, yet there were threatening storm clouds gathering overhead. Our blind guest excitedly remarked that he had never seen a more beautiful sunset.
“People are always amazed when you talk about seeing,” I told him, “I can see,” Horace replied. “I see through other people’s eyes, and I think I often see more; I see beyond the sunset.”
The phrase “beyond the sunset” and the striking inflection of his voice struck me so forcibly, I began singing the first few measures. “That’s beautiful!” his wife interrupted. “Please go to the piano and sing it.”
We went to the piano nearby and completed the first verse. Before the evening meal was finished, all four stanzas had been written and we sang the entire song together.
Virgil P. Brock’s cheerful and lively manner continued to inspire others as he wrote more than 500 gospel songs and led congregations in vibrant singing until the end of his 91 years. His fruitful life reflected a constant, keen awareness of that land “beyond the sunset.”
Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning, when with our Savior heav’n is begun. Earth’s toiling ended, O glorious dawning—beyond the sunset when day is done.
Beyond the sunset no clouds will gather; no storms will threaten, no fears annoy; O day of gladness, O day unending—beyond the sunset, eternal joy!
Beyond the sunset a hand will guide me to God the Father, whom I adore; His glorious presence, His words of welcome, will be my portion on that fair shore.
Beyond the sunset, O glad reunion with our dear loved ones who’ve gone before. In that fair homeland we’ll know no parting—beyond the sunset forevermore!

    For Today: John 14:2, 3; Philippians 3:20, 21; Revelation 21:4

Practice frequent thoughts about the promises and glories of heaven when you feel yourself giving an undue amount of importance to the trivial events of daily living. Now sing—

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