Eliza Jane Edmunds Hewitt was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 28th, 1851. She graduated high school as valedictorian and became a teacher, but her work was suddenly arrested for some time by a severe spinal injury that prevented her from leaving home. As she began to improve, she studied English literature and, feeling the need to be useful, began writing children’s poems for her church. Her hymn ‘There’s Sunshine In My Soul Today” was reportedly written the first day she was allowed to leave home after her injury. Though she would never fully recover and would be bedbound multiple times throughout her life, she was faithful to the Lord, writing hymns that are still sung worldwide more than a hundred years after her death.
After her initial recovery, she began working in the Sunday School department, eventually rising to Superintendent. Her Sunday school work was a highlight in her difficult life, and she poured her heart into reaching the children under her influence with the gospel. Eliza and Fanny Crosby enjoyed a great friendship, finding fellowship in their love of the Saviour and their love of hymns.
From Eliza’s pen of affliction have flowed thousands of songs, including “Sunshine in My Soul,” “Stepping in the Light,” “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place,” “More About Jesus,” and “When We All Get to Heaven.” Her life is an example to believers that each may serve God regardless of where He has placed us. Oh, that we all would walk through difficulty with joy in our hearts and service to the King of kings uppermost in our minds!
Sing his mercy and his grace;
He’ll prepare for us a place.
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when trav’ling days are over,
Trusting, serving ev’ry day;
Soon his beauty we’ll behold;
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What a gifted hymn writer. What a faithful and faith-filled Christian!