Front Porch Comfort

Please don’t take what I am about to say personally. “How Great Thou Art” is not one of my favorite hymns. There is nothing wrong with the lyrics or the tune, but for some reason it has never resonated with me (although I can hear George Beverly Shea singing it right now in my head, even as I type). However, as we sang this hymn last night at evening worship a part of the second verse jumped out at me:

“When through the woods
And forest glades I wander
I hear the birds
Sing sweetly in the trees;”

This week has been a challenging week in the Rankin household. We have faced some significant complications in our lives, and our future is uncertain (in our minds, not in the purposes of God). As these issues weighed on our minds yesterday morning before we started getting ready for church, Dixie and I sat on our front porch talking (okay, Dixie was talking, and I was listening). Suddenly, in the midst of the mockingbirds singing and the hummingbirds chirping, we heard a red-headed woodpecker squawk in a way that only a red-headed woodpecker can squawk, and Dixie mentioned how comforting it was to hear that sound. It was a reminder to us that the world will go on and that God was, and is in control, even though a tenuous future awaits us.

How true is God’s Word when it says in Psalm 50:

A PSALM OF ASAPH. The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. 2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. 3 Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. 4 He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: 5 “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” 6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah.



  1. June 11, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Brother sometimes and old friend can be a good listener. Know we hadn’t been all that close in many years. But the bond of Christ is ever sure. If you need me call my cell 281- 432-9238.. Love ya, George

    • cliftonr said,

      June 11, 2012 at 8:35 PM

      Thanks, George. I may give you a call. If you are ever in Beaumont around lunch time, I’ll buy you lunch. I still owe you for all the fish baskets your mom and dad bought for me at Durke’s Burger down through the years.

  2. thinkactlive said,

    June 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    I read this yesterday before leaving town for the day. I thought about it last night on the way home. It was dark and we were headed toward the Trinity River Bridge. All I could see was the highway with the overhead lights beside it and the bridge. Until we got to the top of the bridge it looked like we were going to fly off into the darkness. The road on the other side wasn’t visible, but it was there, of course. Life is like that sometimes. Y’all are in my prayers.

  3. cliftonr said,

    June 13, 2012 at 5:07 AM

    Thanks, Diane. It is comforting to know that our omniscient, omnipotent, faithful God is in control of our future.

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