The Story Behind The Hymn - SUNSHINE IN MY SOUL
Psalm 92:1 (KJV), “I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.”
In 1851 Eliza Edmunds Hewitt was born, and grew to be valedictorian of her class and a school teacher in Pennsylvania. At some point in her teaching career a student struck her on the back with a piece of heavy slate. This left Eliza in a heavy cast for months, confined to her room.
During this time of painful confinement, Eliza was determined not to be bitter, and started writing hymns. Many of them were praise hymns, such as: Stepping in the Light, Singing I Go, Victory in Jesus and many more.
When she was able to go outside for the first time on a spring day, she enjoyed the warmth of the sun. Returning to her room with a joyful heart, she wrote the hymn Sunshine in my Soul Today.
O there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in my soul.
Eliza did improve but suffered health problems for the rest of her life. She went on to do work in various Sunday School capacities, a passion of hers. At one time she had a class numbering 200.
In researching this incredible woman of faith, it was very surprising to learn Eliza was a great friend to blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby. Here are a couple verses of a poem Eliza wrote and read at Fanny’s funeral.
And when you pass from time away
To meet your Lord and King,
In heaven you’ll meet ten thousand souls,
That you have taught to sing.A few more years to sing the song
Of our Redeemer’s love;
Then by His grace both you and I
Shall sing His praise above.
God has a plan for each and every one of us (Psalm 29:11 (KJV), “The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.”, and despite the difficult circumstances that we face or have faced, He can make something beautiful from ashes. Eliza Hewitt is remembered for the great hymns that have brought comfort to thousands if not millions of people. Had she not suffered this terrible injury, these hymns that speak to our hearts, would not have been written.
How fast the years are rolling on—
We cannot stay their flight;
The summer sun is going down,
And soon will come the night.
But you, dear friend, need fear no ill,
Your path shines bright and clear;
You know the Way, the Truth, the Life,
To you He’s ever near.
Two verses of a poem written for
Fanny Crosby’s funeral by Eliza Hewitt