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Our finest hour

It has long been my habit to rise early while most of the world sleeps. When the children were small, it was my only chance to drink in silence, because most of us know firsthand how noisy little ones can be. I’m blessed not only to have raised three lovely children, but to know the joy of grandchildren, as well.

Even though I sit on my back porch with my morning coffee and the rest of my household sleeps, I am not alone. The birds awaken with lovely melodies spilling from their hearts while the husky voices of bullfrogs down by the lake join in the chorus. Today my croaky, morning voice joins in their song.

The old hymns I grew up on come floating through my memory one after another, and I sing them out to the One who never leaves me. With each song my faith rises up, and I am filled with peace. Although I know many, many old hymns the ones that came to mind today all had one theme. He, Jesus, will walk with me through difficult days, and never let me down.

One song that sums up my feelings was written by Gloria Gaither. In the 1960s, Gloria was expecting her third child and was filled with fear and turmoil concerning the condition of the world at that time in history. With racial tensions and a booming drug culture she pondered the wisdom of bringing another child into an imperfect world. As she sought God’s presence she was filled with peace and later penned these lyrics.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby

And feel the pride and joy he gives

But greater still the calm assurance

This child can face uncertain days

Because He lives

 

Because He lives

I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know who holds the future

And life is worth the living, just because He lives

Gloria’s husband, Bill, wrote the music and together they recorded a song that has encouraged scores to seek the only One who gives lasting hope and courage as we face life’s uncertainties.

Tough times always give us an opportunity to take the high road or go to those “Low Places” that Garth sings about. Most of us are tempted to circle the wagons so to speak, and we certainly do need to care for our own, but we can all do something to bring encouragement and kindness to others, as well.

That will look different for each of us, I know, but we are all gifted and talented in many ways. It has been so encouraging to me to see folks using their sewing skills to make masks for our health care workers. Many are, as one of our local pastors said, “Running to the fire.”

People in my beloved “Land of Cotton” have always been resilient and generous, and this is definitely a time to continue that tradition. God bless us everyone.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.