Do You Know What Tomorrow Holds?

Things can change in an instant:

In the 1995 song “Days Like This” by Van Morrison we find this refrain: “Oh my mama told me,
There’ll be days like this”. We all can have them. It might be a quite shocking or hardcore day that we did not see coming and was quite unexpected. My recent reading reminded me of this reality.

Now and then something I read will jump off the page and really impact me. What might seem like a rather ordinary and unexceptional sentence really struck me when I read it last night. I refer to Richard Phillips’ new 2-volume, 1400-page expository commentary on Genesis (P&R, 2023). I was reading his remarks about the Joseph story.

You would know it well. Except for chapter 38, the last 14 chapters of Genesis all revolve around Joseph. That is a full quarter of the entire book. In this narrative we clearly see the providence of God throughout. What people planned for evil, God planned for good (Gen. 50:20).

The sentence he had penned which grabbed me was this one: “Like Joseph, none of us knows what any given day will bring” (Vol. 2, p. 330). Yes, it is rather obvious, but still… Most of us wake up each morning fully expecting the day to go like most of our previous days. We usually do not expect that any major, dramatic event will occur.

Joseph would have woken that morning like most others, yet by the end of the day he found himself heading off to Egypt, sold as a slave – all because of his brothers’ intense dislike of him. Wow, I bet you he didn’t see that one coming! Talk about your day not exactly going as you expected it would!

Image of Genesis: 2-Volume Set (Reformed Expository Commentaries)
Genesis: 2-Volume Set (Reformed Expository Commentaries) by Phillips, Richard D. (Author) Amazon logo

My own story

Most of us might have days like this. When people ask me about my testimony, I have to say that what happened to Joseph sorta happened to me one day. No, I was not sold into slavery and bundled off to Egypt. But it was still quite a radical and unexpected day.

The day was August 15, 1971 – it was the day I became a Christian. There I was that morning, minding my own business and doing more of the same of what I had been doing for quite a while. I woke up and drove with a friend from my hometown in Wisconsin to Madison. I often enjoyed going to Milwaukee or Madison to get some new rock albums (although they could be found in Sheboygan).

I bought three albums that day – two of them which I still remember. One was a new Moody Blues album. I also scored some more dope – a bag of psilocybin (magic mushrooms). We got back home, and I jumped on my bike to ride to some friends’ place to do what we did just about every day: listen to rock albums and take a lot of drugs.

But I never got to hear those albums nor take that dope. But I wrote all this up before, so if you don’t mind, let me share some of that here:

Cheryl, a hippy girl that I had known well, was with a few others, driving down the street in the opposite direction. I pulled over and had a chat – and that was the beginning of the end for me. It was the rather unexpected and unplanned – on my part – end of my old life. And it was the start of a new life in Christ – albeit a rather circuitous one with many detours and false paths.


She had just got back from a Christian commune in the mountains of New Mexico. She was telling everyone about Jesus and her new life in Christ. She was certainly excited and radiant. She seemed to be a new person, and wanted everyone to discover what she had.


She was more than happy to tell me all about her story and her Jesus. It was all pretty basic and simple stuff really, like how Jesus cares for the birds in the trees, knows the number of hairs on your head, and does not allow a sparrow to fall to the ground without him knowing about it.


All very appealing stuff to a hippy – you know: don’t panic, it’s organic. She spoke about how the birds were really praising God when they were chirping away, and how all our desires and yearnings are satisfied in Jesus. Down-to-earth stuff, but certainly music to my desperate ears and empty soul.


I knew she was right and I had to get on board. I knew I had to go back to New Mexico with her; and I guess I was her only convert at the time. I knew if I went home that night I would get sidetracked and put off, so we both slept over at a friend’s house that night, so I would not be tempted to forget all that I heard.


The next morning we went to another friend’s place, where I tiptoed over the sleeping bodies on the floor, and grabbed my sleeping bag. We were off – hitchhiking the 1350 miles or so to Taos. As we hitched our way through Madison where my brother lived I gave him a quick call on a pay phone saying I was leaving. That was all my family heard from me for some time.

As mentioned, I sure didn’t expect THAT to happen that one summer day! As I also say in the 4-part article covering my testimony, I was quite depressed and suicidal at the time. I am not sure how much longer I might have lasted. So it was quite incredible – and providential – that I saw Cheryl that afternoon. Everything changed for me from that moment on.

Moral of the story

What happened to Joseph, to me, and to so many others in various sizes and shapes can happen to anyone. However, it may not always be a good event or a good outcome. Perhaps you walk out of your house one morning, head off to work, get in a car crash, and never return home again.

We never know what day might be our last. Worse yet still if you stormed out of the house that morning, having had an argument with your wife, and a falling out with your children. If your day is going to be your last, most folks would want to leave with relationships intact, and with loved ones knowing of your care for them, and so on.

Since I began this piece with some contemporary Christian music, let me continue in the same vein. In 1974 The 2nd Chapter of Acts released the song, “Which Way the Wind Blows”. One of the lines in it is this: “You don’t know which way the wind blows. So how can you plan tomorrow?”

Quite so. Jesus of course made this point often. Consider especially his parable of the rich fool as found in Luke 12:16-21:

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

We all need to learn from this story and take it to heart. Will you make it through the night? Will you see another sunrise tomorrow? We just do not know, do we? To quote one final popular Christian song from that period, “I wish we’d all been ready” (Larry Norman, 1969).

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