We are tossed and driven
on the restless sea of time;
somber skies and howling tempests
oft succeed a bright sunshine;
in that land of perfect day,
when the mists have rolled away,
we will understand it better by and by.
Charles Albert Tindley (July 7, 1851 – July 26, 1933) was an American Methodist minister and gospel music composer.
Often referred to as “The Prince of Preachers”, he educated himself, became a minister and founded one of the largest Methodist congregations serving the African-American community on the East Coast of the United States.
He was one of the eminent preachers of Methodism at the turn of the twentieth century. Hymnologist James Abbington has called Tindley a “pastor, orator, poet, writer, theologian, social activist, ‘father of African American Hymnody,’ ‘progenitor of African American gospel music’ and ‘prince of preachers.'”
The Rev. Carlton Young notes “We’ll Understand It Better By and By” was “one of eight hymns . . . written during a difficult period in Tindley’s life.”
One can imagine Tindley using this song to punctuate his sermons, offering hope to those assembled not only through exegesis of the biblical text, but also through a lyrical sung theology.
From “The Lawrence Welk Show,” Gail, Rod, and Michael are featured in this great Gospel song found in the United Methodist Hymnal (page 525). Join with them in song as they encourage every Christian: “WE’LL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER BY AND BY”