I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I know who holds tomorrowI Know Who Holds Tomorrow

(Words by Ira Stanphill, 1950)

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 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.

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 don’t know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood.

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

Written during the golden age of itinerant preaching, Ira F. Stanphill’s 1950 hymn I Know Who Holds Tomorrow melds the delicate lyrics of contemplation with a soft melody that grows in strength and truth. After searching for many years for the author of this lovely song and the circumstances surrounding its history,  I finally came across a few words by  two friends of  Ira Stanphill  whom I only come to know as  Weldon  and the other one Ann. They both  knew Ira Stanphill personally till his death. According to the two, The song, “I know who holds tomorrow” and We’ll talk it over” were written during a very difficult time in Ira’s life. His wife was  an excellent singer. However, she felt the ministry that Ira was in was not for her and decided to enter the world of entertainment and left Ira to follow her dreams as a celebrity.  Unfortunately her sweet life was quickly cut short when she was involved in a car accident. The two songs reflect some of the deep hurt and questioning that Ira was feeling immediately after this happened. Life is fleeting indeed.  It was just after his wife was killed, that he became an associate Pastor at Bethel Temple in Ft Worth. While in Ft Worth, he married Gloria Hollingsworth, a preacher’s daughter. After about a year they went somewhere else for a few years. Then he returned to Ft Worth to pastor Rosen Heights AG, which was later moved to a new church building and renamed, Rockwood Park Assembly of God. He was there for a number of years. He  later developed a brain tumor and had surgery for it. Thereafter, it somewhat changed his personality, but not to a noticeable degree. When he retired, he became a regular on the  early Gaither Homecoming programs and recordings. At some point in his later life he signed an agreement with Singspiration regarding his music rights. He and Gloria had two daughters. Ira had one son, Butch, by his first wife. It is clear from the comments by friends that Ira was a great person. It seems, by God’s grace that those who travel through deep waters come forth with a great spirit and trust in God.

What makes this song especially meaningful is that it so accurately reflects the present nature of life’s spatial plane.  As someone only quoted as unknown once wrote

I may never see tomorrow; there’s no written guarantee.
And things that happened yesterday belong to history.
I cannot predict the future, I cannot change the past.
I have just the present moment, I must treat it as my last.
I must use this moment wisely for it soon will pass away,
And be lost to me forever as part of yesterday.
I must exercise compassion, help the fallen to their feet,
Be a friend unto the friendless, make an empty life complete.
The unkind things I do today may never be undone,
And friendships that I fail to win may nevermore be won.
I may not have another chance on bended knee to pray,
And thank God with humble heart for giving me this day.

The conclusion, then, is that the most steadfast, bedrock, sure thing we can count on  is that life is uncertain. Or to put it more abstractly, uncertainty is our only certitude. And it is exactly this certitude that is so beautifully captured in song by Stanphill. The lesson of I Know Who Holds Tomorrow is that even inasmuch as we try to figure it all out, we cannot know which course is the best in life until hindsight blinds us by the force of its illumination. The song simply communicates that this is as it should be, for all of life is trial and error. Only God knows everything and we do well tp play our hope in Him alone.

The broader point of the song, then, is that we can never know what tomorrow holds for our lives unfold in a series of moments. And the Giver of Moments stands by, holds our hand, and tells us, ‘this uncertainty is, ok.’ God is in control. We can rely on him

With this in mind, please enjoy the robust baritone of Gospel Music Hall of fame legend George Younce as he sings Ira Stanphill’s I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.


6 Responses to I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

  1. I love the old hymns and gospel songs. There are some that I like to sing in the kitchen while I am washing the dishes. This is one of them. 🙂


  2. Min. B says:

    A song that will never grow old or loose the anointing with which it was given


  3. Pradeep Kumar Govada says:

    This song is a real Blessing for me


  4. faith says:

    Draws me closer to Him The Alpha & Omega yes


  5. The video has been blocked. Can I suggest this one instead?


  6. Mercy Handy says:

    that so great


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