This is the first country love song released by Brooks. A man lies awake at night, thinking what would happen in his love's mind if he were to die the next day. The first line in the chorus reads: "If tomorrow never comes, will she know how much I love her?" He goes on to compare this situation with his own lost loved ones, and how he made a promise to say each day how much she means to him. The song begins with a soft guitar solo and gradually builds up to a more orchestrated accompaniment. Brooks has written many love songs since. This song is about The love of a father to his daughter. Not to his lover. Garth said that on stage at Belmont University to Britt Todd and in his music video he has his daughter playing next to him while he sings.
Garth provided the following background information on the song in the CD booklet liner notes from The Hits:
"'If Tomorrow Never Comes" will probably always be my signature song. I ran the idea for this song by what seemed like a thousand writers and no one really seemed to understand what I was looking for. On the day that Bob Doyle, my co-manager, introduced me to Kent Blazy, I passed this idea by Kent and he had the first verse down within fifteen seconds. I could tell he just felt it. Kent Blazy is a wonderful man, full of love and energy, and if we never write again, I hope that we are always friends first. Thank you Ireland for this moment."
Throughout the music video for the song, Brooks is seen playing his guitar in a dim room. Next to him is a table with an antique oil lamp on it. The video constantly cuts to a small child, played by the daughter of Steve Gatlin, brother of Larry Gatlin. She is the subject of the song in this case. The use of an antique screen is present through much of the video, which also features Brooks' ex-wife, Sandy. "If Tomorrow Never Comes", directed by John Lloyd Miller, received the #3 position on the CMTThe Greatest: 20 Greatest First Videos broadcast.
The video starts with Keating sitting on a bed and staring at the woman sleeping in it. He leaves his house and, having fallen onto a road in the path of a moving car, he is run over by it. He goes through the same scene multiple times, apparently stuck in a time loop, unrealistically singing throughout. At the end, he stops the loop by avoiding to cross the road and, instead, walking along the same sidewalk where his front door is.