Not now, but in the coming years

Not now, but in the coming years,
It may be when with Christ we stand,
We’ll read the meaning of our tears,
And there, sometime, we’ll understand.
  Then trust in God through all thy days;
Fear not, for He doth hold thy hand;
Though dark thy way, still sing and praise,
  Sometime, sometime, we’ll understand.
We’ll catch the broken thread again,
And finish what we here began;
God will the mysteries explain,
And then, ah, then, we’ll understand.
We’ll know why clouds instead of sun
Were over many a cherished plan;
Why song has ceased when scarce begun;
’Tis then, sometime, we’ll understand.
Why what we long for most of all,
Eludes so oft our eager hand;
Why hopes are crushed and castles fall,
Till then, sometime, we’ll understand.
God knows the way, He holds the key,
He guides us with unerring hand;
Sometime with tearless eyes we’ll see;
Yes, then, ’tis then, we’ll understand.
Jamon E. Liburd

College Park, MD, United States

I love the lyrics and melody of this song. Having recently lost my mom, in November 2022, I attended a funeral on January 19, 2024, and the lyrics and melody have been a source of strength and encouragement as we do not understand and "see through a glass dimly", but I am grateful for the encouragement and the fact that sometime, I'll understand.

In Loving and Bright Memory of my Mother, Helen Rosetta Stanley-Liburd

Lydia Padilla

Rizal, Philippines

When I was in my primary grades I usually hear my cousin who was in despair at that time, singing this song. The melody and lyrics had stuck into my mind until I grew up. I acknowledge that there are situations where we might not comprehend the reasons behind certain events or hardships. However, this song reassures me that in due course, everything will become clear, and understand God’s greater plan. In the most challenging moments of our life, we are not alone, and God’s presence is with us. Let us continue to seek Him and grow in our faith so we will gain insight for life’s uncertainties and find peace in His plan for our lives.

Carole McCabe

Lyndhurst, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Many years ago my darling parents loved the words of this beautiful hymn. When my Mother and only brother died, my Father would often recite these words of comfort.

Now that life is hard, and lonely, and filled with grief, I now too recite these words to myself often. I had forgotten one of the verses and therefore find myself here at

I have just read here the compact biography of Maxwell N. Cornelius. I believe the Holy Spirit-the Spirit of Love, helped this dear gentleman to pen these words of succour for those who grieve. How Wonderful is our Lord.

Glenda Palmer

Sebring, Florida, United States

This was one of my Mom's favorite songs. She's been gone 15 years now.....


This is the tune I was searching for, thanks very much. Good comforting words

Jessica Pretorius

Cape Town, Western Cape, Africa

What beautiful words. Thank you my friend for sending it to me if only we can take heed and understand before it is too late the hymn actually tells us something.

Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

"sometime" throughout the song should be "some time". The meaning is different.


Mr. Cornelius was brought up on a farm in my own coun­ty in Penn­syl­van­ia. He left farm­ing when he came of age, and learned the trade of a brick-ma­son. Lat­er he be­came a con­tract­or in Pitts­burg. In erect­ing a house in that ci­ty his leg was brok­en. The phy­si­cians de­cid­ed that it would have to be am­pu­tat­ed…He stood the op­er­a­tion well and came out safe­ly, but was maimed for life. He now de­cid­ed to go to col­lege and get an ed­u­ca­tion. Af­ter pass­ing through col­lege with hon­or he con­clud­ed to be­come a min­is­ter of the gos­pel. His first charge was at Al­too­na, Penn­syl­van­ia, but on ac­count of his wife’s health he soon re­moved to Cal­i­for­nia, lo­cat­ing at Pa­sa­de­na, where he built the larg­est Pres­by­ter­i­an church in that place.

Ma­ny who had sub­scribed to help to pay for the building failed in bu­si­ness, and he was left to meet the ob­li­ga­tions as best he could. But in a few years he had the church cleared from all debt. Short­ly af­ter­ward his wife died. He preached the fun­er­al ser­mon him­self. At the con­clu­sion he quot­ed the words of this hymn, which he had com­posed short­ly before. Both the words of the hymn and the ser­mon were print­ed in a West­ern news­pa­per, where Ma­jor Whit­tle found them. Im­pressed by their beau­ty, he cut them out and car­ried them in his Bi­ble for three months be­fore he wrote the chor­us…Soon af­ter he hand­ed the words to his friend, James Mc­Gran­a­han, who com­posed the tune to which the hymn is now sung. - Sankey's Story of the Gospel Hymns

Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

stanza 1, line 2 originally says:

It may be in the better land


chorus, 1st line originally says "the days" instead of "thy days"


stanza 2 line 3 originally says:

Heav'n will the mysteries explain,


stanza 3, last line, originally says "'Tis there" instead of "'Tis then".


stanza 5, last line originally says: "Yes, there, up there, we'll understand."


Scotland, United Kingdom

A dear friend sent a link to this lovely hymn the day after my Dad died.

The words and music are comforting and remind me always that God will never let us down . Jesus knew what it was to feel sadness, loneliness and despair, face pain and rejection and knowing that, we can come to Him, knowing He will understand exactly how we feel. Thank you.


Surabaya, Jawa Timur, Indonesia

Not now, but in the coming years. I don't understand at all the meaning of "suffering" for the vision the Lord gave, but i'll just go through it, Lord. Trusting You in all my days, sing and praise though darkness. So someday I'll understand, not now I think, but someday I must know. Thank You Lord for this hymn.