Who holds tomorrow
Much of the country is emerging from a deep freeze and as we do, we face a new year beginning in a few days. Personally, as I look back over the year passing, I see a wondrous event that I never saw coming, and that I never could have scripted. Alongside it, I also see a tragedy that directly affected some of our family, and consequently, all of us are deeply touched by it.
Looking to the year ahead, we hope and pray we can escape the hard things. None of us sign up for them, but we take comfort that if challenges come, God has promised grace to face them.
Confidence in God’s hand in our lives is what gives us the courage to live our lives without fear of tomorrow.
This past summer I was asked to speak at a clergy spouse’s gathering. It was the first time we had met since the pandemic began. As I prepared, I couldn’t help but consider the unique roll clergy spouses played during the pandemic. I’ve written here before that a meme circulating on social media at the outset of the pandemic featured a woman with a video camera. The text read something like, “And just like that, all the preacher’s spouses turned into audio visual experts.” In a small membership church like ours, there’s not a team of experts doing this. It was just the one with the preacher, which happened to be me and that was the case for many churches.
I was thankful at the time to be able to order root touch up, so I could spray my balding scalp because of the takes, the retakes, the interruptions, and the lighting problems. I’ve finally had to stop coloring my hair because of an allergic reaction, but if I’d been smart, I would have stopped then. The AV job was not one I thought I’d ever have, and I was all the time praying for someone to rescue me from it. I did it then for Jesus, for Jerry, and for the people of our church. I was just trying by the grace of God to adjust and adapt.
Life is full of the unexpected. In fact, one of the only things we can count on is that the unexpected will happen. Of course, not all surprises are difficult. Some are perceived as good, but those seem to be easier to navigate.
The truth is, from one day to the next, we don’t know what unforeseen challenges we may face tomorrow.
Gospel song writer Ira Stanphill wrote these lines, “I don’t know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day . . . “ Those words echo the ones Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “. . . do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its on.” A key in managing all those unexpected troubles—asking God to help us live in today and trusting him with what will happen in the morning.
Early in my walk with the Lord, I was heartbroken one Sunday when our beloved mentor, Grady, announced he was moving from our church, but I’ll never forget the last words he spoke from that pulpit before he left—words I’ve shared many times and will share many more. They were from Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” I have clung to those words and remembered them when circumstances threatened to throw me off kilter. Jesus is unchanging despite what may happen around us.
So, let’s keep these words the apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrews close to our hearts, and trust no matter what unexpected challenges tomorrow holds, we can sing the chorus of that song I mentioned earlier. “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.”
May I pray over us? Dear Lord, thank you for the blessing of this day. It is a day you have made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it. In the year ahead, help us to hold fast to you during uncertain and unexpected times. We thank you for your enduring presence in each of our lives. Lord, may we be a blessing to others today through our words and our actions. May we effervesce with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and may we be renewed in your love. Strengthen us for your service in Jesus’s name. Amen.