“Yesterday and Tomorrow”
There is no denying that to one degree or another, the past 12 months have been difficult for all of us. I don’t need to list the events that have led us to such sorrow, disappointment, frustration, and fear. While the problems of 2020 have been seen worldwide, the effects for some of us have been deeply personal. I have lost two close friends to Covid-19, both who were serving in the ministry. I know many of you in our church family have experienced the sickness or loss of family and friends.
Thankfully, God’s Word not only prepares us to expect trials in this life but it also assures us that He is accomplishing His good purposes through them. The Scripture teaches us God brings trials to test the strength of our faith, to wean us off earthly things, to enable us to help others in their suffering, to produce in us endurance and strength, and to remind us that our future hope is not in this world. Trials cause us to look upward and to long for heaven in a way we otherwise would not.
One of my favorite old hymns is “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”. It was written by Ira Stanfill. Stanfill was born in 1914. He came to know the Lord at age 12 and was called into the ministry soon after college. In 1939 he married Zelma Lawson, a minister’s daughter who was a gifted musician herself. For years they traveled and ministered together in Crusades across the country. But Zelma eventually became disillusioned with ministry and left Ira. Zelma remarried and soon after was killed in a car accident. Ira was devastated. He had tried to reconcile with her. He remained true to his vows and was willing to forgive her right up until her death. During those years of separation, divorce and Zelma’s death, Ira sunk into a deep depression. “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” was written during this time in his life. It goes like this…
I don’t know about tomorrow; I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine, For its skies may turn to grey.
I don’t worry o’er the future, For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him, For He knows what lies ahead.
Every step is getting brighter, As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden’s getting lighter, Every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shining, There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow, Where the mountains touch the sky.
Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand,
But I know who holds tomorrow And I know who holds my hand.
I heard a preacher say recently “One of the unhealthy effects of living in a prolonged era of relative comfort, convenience, and acceptance is that it curbs our appetite for heaven.”
Let the difficulty of 2020 remind you to now more than ever, “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 2). Look upward and be encouraged. We know who holds our tomorrows!
Press On! Stan