FARTHER ALONG written in 1911
At least 4 different men have been credited as being the author of this hymn… so any definitive hymn story would be sketchy at best. But, the most solid story points to W.B. Stevens, a preacher in the little cross-roads village of Queen City, Missouri.
In the late 19th-century, W.B. was struggling. His young son had died suddenly, and he was devastated. He had counseled many people who had lost loved ones. He had given them several Bible verses to read… he had prayed with them and comforted them… but this sorrow struck home… and he was struggling.
He wondered if he could even continue preaching. His sermons sounded hollow to him. How could a loving God allow such a horrible thing to happen? Why do good people suffer and bad people seem to prosper? Why me, O God? Why me?
W.B. wrote down his thoughts in a poem. He had no easy answers – only the assurance that “we’ll understand it better by and by”. Little did he know that his simple poem expressing a father’s heartache would become one of the best-known gospel songs to comfort others with heavy hearts.
Read this hymn, and – today – rejoice that God could allow such a moment of tragedy to produce such words of comfort.
Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder why it should be thus all the day long;
while there are others living about us, never molested, though in the wrong.
Farther along we’ll know more about it, farther along we’ll understand why;
cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine, we’ll understand it all by and by.
Sometimes I wonder why I must suffer, go in the rain, the cold, and the snow,
when there are many living in comfort, giving no heed to all I can do. (Refrain)
Tempted and tried, how often we question why we must suffer year after year,
being accused by those of our loved ones, e’en though we’ve walked in God’s holy fear.(Refrain)
Often when death has taken our loved ones, leaving our home so lone and so drear,
then do we wonder why others prosper, living so wicked year after year. (Refrain)
“Faithful till death,” saith our loving Master; short is our time to labor and wait;
then will our toiling seem to be nothing, when we shall pass the heavenly gate. (Refrain)
Soon we will see our dear, loving Savior, hear the last trumpet sound through the sky;
then we will meet those gone on before us, then we shall know and understand why.(Refrain)