“My Faith Has Found A Resting Place”

Eliza Hewitt: (aka Lidie H. Edmunds)

(1851-1920)

Do we sometimes wonder of God’s purpose and plan for our life?  Is there a positive purpose in something that seems so negative?  Eliza Hewitt may have had just such a thought.

Eliza was born in Philadelphia and educated in the local school system.  She graduated as valedictorian of the Girl’s Normal School and became a teacher in the public schools.  That was her dream, to teach young lives and to be an encourager for them.

It seemed that her dreams were suddenly destroyed one day at school when a student hit her in the back with his slate.  It is not clear if this was accidentally or on purpose, but the damage was life changing.  She was confined to bed unable to move for six months.  She was a semi-invalid the rest of her life.  Lying in bed, Eliza had a choice.  She could have been bitter and unforgiving, but instead, she passed the time reading her Bible and English Literature.  She began writing poetry while recuperating and it was during this time that she wrote some of the most beautiful hymns found in our church hymn books today.  One of her first, “There’s Sunshine in My Soul Today”, was written on the warm Spring day after her doctor allowed her to go for a walk in a nearby park.  We have all sung “When We All Get To Heaven”, “More About Jesus Would I Know”, “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place”, and “Will There be Any Stars in My Crown?” She also became a prolific writer of children’s verses.  There is a list of over 1,700 hymns, songs, and poems she wrote located on the website, www.hymnary.org.

Her well-being improved although she suffered re-occurrences for the rest of her life.  She developed a love of God and the Scriptures and she continued with the hope of sharing this love with others in written form.  Eliza did not give up on her dream to reach young lives.  She was very committed to reaching children through Sunday School and her poems with the message of the Gospel.  She became deeply involved in Sunday School work and became the Sunday School Superintendent for the Northern Home for Friendless Children.  It was during this time that she wrote a poem titled “Winning Souls for Jesus.” This was one of the first, if not the first, of her poems, but it was never published.  It was placed in the corner stone of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church of West Philadelphia.  She also started writing “motion” songs for a friend to use in the primary grades in Sunday School.  If you have ever taught youngsters in Sunday School or Primary Church, you know what a blessing this type of song is.

She was an active member of the Mt. Olivet Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia and later at Calvin Presbyterian Church.  She was the Primary Department Sunday School Superintendent at that church until her death.  She also contributed to a publication, “Sunday School Helps” and gave talks entitled “Around the World on the Wings of Song” which were stories related to her by people telling of how God used her poems and hymns to help them.

Her plans seemed to fall apart but she allowed herself to be used as God desired, enriching our lives.  We are all the more blessed by her ability to teach and admonish us in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that came out of her life.

 

“My Faith Has Found A Resting Place”

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

 

Sources:

Jacob H. Hall, Biography of Gospel Song and Hymn Writers

Charles H. Gabriel, The Singers and Their Songs

www.hymnary.org

www.hymntime.com