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My Dad’s Favorite Songs Remind Me of Where My Hope Really Is…

David Burchett
David Burchett
2016 17 Jun

I am so grateful to be the father of three wonderful sons. I am grateful as I watch my sons being great dads to our grandchildren. But Father's Day also reminds me how much I miss my Dad.

I thought of him as I watched the news today. The current climate in Washington and the selfish agendas of our “representatives” would have driven him nuts. I could almost hear him ranting about the politicians and how we just need someone with common sense in our Nation’s Capital. He earned the right to rant. He was one of the incredible men and women who served our country during World War II. The flag from his military funeral is one of my proudest possessions.

I find myself becoming more like my Dad every day. I dialed up a couple of his favorite songs that I have on iTunes as a musical version of comfort food. The first song was particularly appropriate in the context of today’s news. The world seems to be in a deadly free fall and in previous years I would have been beside myself with frustration and concern. But today I listened to one of my Dad’s favorite songs and felt comfort wash over my soul. The song is called “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” and it was written in 1950 by a traveling preacher named Ara Stanphill. This is a song of trust written during a time of agony and doubt in his life. Stanphill’s wife battled addiction and left him for other men. You could imagine the gossip that flew in that era when a preacher’s wife left to live a life of sin. Yet Stanphill forgave her, tried to reconcile and remained true to his vows. But he was human and he suffered depression and grief. He wondered why God would allow such a fate for a man dedicated to His service. One day he was feeling sorry for himself as he drove. In the book Turn Your Radio On author Ace Collins relates the struggle that Stanphill faced. In the depths of his sadness he began to hum a tune and the next thing he knew he was singing a song. He sang about not knowing what was in the future but knowing that God was with him every step of the way. He rushed to his piano when he arrived at his office and jotted down the words.  I remember hearing Faron Young sing these lyrics on a scratchy vinyl record with my Dad.

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.

I believe those words. I don’t know why some things happen. I am often angry, frustrated and deeply concerned about what is going on in Washington and around the world. But at the end of the day I put my hope not in politics but in Jesus. I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand. And then I listened to what I would guess was my Dad’s favorite song. He would sing along loudly and I remember that I also inherited my Dad’s lack of singing talent. But his heart believed the words that Red Foley and the Sunshine Boys sang.

There will be peace in the valley for me, some day
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow, my Lord,
no trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me

My Dad is experiencing that today. No more sadness, no sorrow, no troubles. So in the midst of craziness and confusion I hold on to the hope that my Dad believed. I know who holds tomorrow. I know there will be peace in the valley for me some day and that I will see him again. More and more I understand the words that C.S.Lewis wrote.

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

That is what Jesus was saying as He comforted His followers with these words recorded in the Gospel of John.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

So today I choose to trust God for today and sing this little chorus.

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand

But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

When I saw my dad for the last time I did not say goodbye. Instead I said “see you later” because I know who holds today, tomorrow and forever.

Dave Burchett is the author of "Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace" and
"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People".