I do not know tomorrow’s way

Path junction on Slate Delfs Hill, Calderdale (own photo)

Today’s hymn from Sing Praise is ‘I do not know tomorrow’s way’ by an American writer, Margaret Clarkson, to a tune by the Northumbria Community, though the suggested alternative of the older and well-known tune ‘O waly waly’ seems to work equally well.

Its theme is that we trust in Christ whatever happens in life, for we do not know the future.  The uncertainty applies from day to day (the title line) as unexpected problems arise, through life’s ups and downs (‘grief or gladness, peace or pain’), and as we approach death not knowing how much longer we will live (euphemistically here, ‘when evening falls, if soon or late earth’s day grows dim’).

The repeated motif is in the third line of each verse: ‘But I know Christ…’ and the various assurances he brings (‘he abides with me … his presence will sustain … he’ll call me home to him’). It’s this assurance, difficult to explain but found inside the believer, that keeps us both hopeful and joyful (in the spiritual sense, as distinct from necessarily ‘happy’).

1 thought on “I do not know tomorrow’s way”

  1. I thought this was a well-constructed lyric. In a way it reminds me of “I cannot tell why he whom angels worship …” (to the tune of the Londonderry Air) which in each verse marks the half-way point with “But this I know …”; for the verses have the same overall structure. Its theme is, as Stephen says, that we do not know what may come, but we do know that Christ will be there with us in whatever it is, and he will get us through it. And as such I think it is well worth singing.

    And I thought the Jill Sutheran tune was good too. It would be interesting to know whether it was originally melody only (and requiring harmonies), or whether the original harmonies were deemed inadequate. Anne Harrison has arranged a number of other items in the book, and I have come to respect her idiosyncrasies.

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