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I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

Hello, everyone.

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

This is, of course, the opening paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens’ epic novel about the French Revolution. The novel was published in 1859, so we can presume that “the present period” that Dickens mentions in the quote is indeed that year.

However, given the situations that we find in the present day, “the present period” can refer to today as well. At long last, the national economy seems to be in the early stages of recovery from the Great Recession – at the very time that the Republicans are seeking to demolish it in order to destroy Barak Obama. We have both Elizabeth Warren and Lindsay Graham in the Senate. We have the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, at the same time that we have the conservatives belching for still more guns. We have both the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News. We have PBS and Fox. And to quote Dickens, “ we [are] all going direct to heaven, we [are] all going direct the other way,” depending on who you listen to.

Yes, these are indeed uncertain times. But the only thing that differentiates this period from the time of the shelling of Fort Sumter, the sinking of the Lusitania, and the bombing of Pearl Harbor is our location on the time line of history. Because throughout our history as both a nation and a civilization on this planet, times of peril and uncertainty have gone with the territory.

After over 50 years, I still remember the Cuban missile crisis in October, 1962. Russian missiles had been discovered on the island of Cuba, and the safety of the country was in doubt. This was not a situation brought on by the attitudes and behavior of this country; this was a legitimate hostile threat. I was a junior in college, and another student and I lived with an old man in our college town. I was in John’s room, and we were listening to John F. Kennedy’s speech on the radio. One could hear the anger and rage in Kennedy’s voice. During the speech, John said to me, “Kennedy is really pi**ed off!” I said in reply, “That’s an understatement!” We, of course, didn’t know it that night, but in a few days it would all be over. The U. S. Navy intercepted a Russian ship carrying more missiles, and ordered the ship to leave. It did, and soon the missiles in Cuba were removed as well. And, to coin a very stale phrase, the rest is history.

Human angst is simply part of the human makeup. Every one of us has those times when the thought of the future gives us pause. I remember the day I married my Carol, my late wife. I stood with her in front of our pastor, and while the ceremony was going on, I kept wondering if I would be able to give her the kind of life that I wanted to give her and that she deserved. Carol and I talked about this afterward, and she said that she had a ball standing up there and getting married. I’m glad that one of us did!

I still remember Sunday morning, December 16, 2007. Carol had fallen the previous October and shattered her left femur. She was in an extended care facility in Broomfield, Colorado, trying to recover from the surgery to repair the break and to learn how to be able to use her limb again. Two days before, she had been fitted with a brace that frightened her greatly. I went to spend the day with her on Saturday. At 6:15 in the morning on Sunday morning, I got a phone call from the facility, telling me that Carol had died in her sleep that morning. After the news of her death had sunk in, I began to wonder that, given the wonderful years that we shared together, could I survive alone, without her.

There is an old saying that says that the darkest hour is just before the dawn. I don’t know how literally true that statement is, but it is figuratively true. We have seen it in our history. The Confederacy was broken in the Civil War and the traffic in human flesh was ended. Out of the angst of December, 1941, came a super-human effort, with the end result being that Adolf Hitler and Tojo were tossed on the scrap pile of human history. Kennedy and Nikita Khrouschev stared at each other eyeball to eyeball and Khrouschev blinked.

That which applies on a national scale also applies on the human level. I never felt that I gave Carol the kind of life that she deserved, but she was very quick to tell me that she loved me and that she had me, and that was all that mattered. And I am VERY SLOWLY learning that life can go on without one’s life companion being at his / her side.

To a lot of people, faith in God isn’t cool. Either they don’t believe in God, or else they focus all their attention, love, and worship onto “Jesus,” whether or not he actually existed. As for me, I have a very deep faith in God, partly because of the way I was raised when I was a boy, and partly because of my life experiences and the lessons I have learned in the course of my life. I know for a fact that God exists, because I have seen him at work in the history of this country. And I have also seen him at work in my life.

In my earlier years, I was very active in church music as a choir member, church organist and pianist, accompanist, and, VERY rarely, as a vocal soloist. There is one song that I have played at least 100 times, quite likely more. It is titled “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow,” and was written by Ira Stamphill. It is copyright 1950? by Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group. Here is the first verse, slightly altered, and the chorus:

I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from it’s sunshine
For its skies may turn to gray.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what my God said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

I have lived those words for almost 71 years, and I can state that the thought about who holds tomorrow has helped me through those dark, narrow passages of my life. I also am brazen enough to believe that those words describe that force that has led this country through its darkest hours. And I truly believe that if this country knows and follows the One who TRULY holds tomorrow, that he will help us steer this country back into the sunshine. And that one isn’t some puny little “Jesus,” but the one who holds the universe in the palm of his hand.

Many things about tomorrow

I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

Have yourselves a beautiful and blessed day tomorrow.

Bill

 

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March 10, 2013 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Politics, Religion

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