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’).