I Know Who Holds (me)....

Ira Stanphill was born on February 14, 1914 - 100 years ago. He wrote more than 500 songs during his lifetime - you probably know some of them - Mansion Over the Hilltop (later sung by Elvis); Room at the Cross; Suppertime (later sung by Johnny Cash); and We'll Talk it Over. But one of my favorites is "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow."

Ira grew up in a musical family and by the age of 10, knew how to play the piano, organ, accordion and ukulele. He composed his first song as a teenager. In 1936, Ira launched a revival campaign during which time he met, Zelma Lawson who he married in 1939. Together they wrote the song, "Room at the Cross For You" and their voices rang out, "though millions have come, there's still room for one; yes, there's room at the cross for you."

However, Zelma began drifting away from the cross. She started attending nightclubs and seeing other men. She eventually divorced Ira, remarried and chose singing in nightclubs instead of at revival meetings. In 1951, a car accident took Zelma's life. Between the divorce and Zelma's death, Ira reached a personal low in his life. Some criticized him for continuing to preach after his divorce. His heart was torn over and over. He was down and out. And then, he poured out his heart to God and a new song was born.

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 be 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...

Ira entered his "mansion over the hilltop" just a few weeks short of his 80th birthday following a sudden heart attack.

I've been thinking a lot about tomorrow lately. I've attended memorial services for two friends over the past month or so. It seems that death comes more often than it did when I was younger - I'm sure just part of growing old, but nonetheless, troublesome.

As we plan our summer trips, our fall escapades, and our winter get-togethers, we don't know how they will come off. But we continue to plan for the future.

As Jesus ascended into heaven, he knew that he had done what he had come to do. He had spent time with his friends sharing stories and assuring them that his Spirit would remain to fill an emptiness that we don't understand.

Dear Jesus,
I am so thankful that today I know who holds my hand. Regardless of what happens tonight or tomorrow, I don't need to understand it all. Just as you care for every hair on my head and every sparrow in flight, I need not worry. Thank you for holding my hand - Every day! Amen

Carole Schumacher

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