Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

February 22, 2015


Cowboys, poems, friends and hard questions


        As a small child I dreamed of having a horse. Dad used four mules for farming – until he was able to buy a used John Deere tractor. He owned no horses. I never saw Dad on a horse.

        But the Lone Ranger had a horse. And I loved to imagine what it was like to ride Silver while listening on the radio to the exciting adventures of the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

        My dream came true when I was 12. My Uncle Mac Johnson sold me a Shetland pony for fifty dollars. Her name was Josephine. For the next six years Josephine and I were inseparable – until I left for Auburn at 18. I could ride Josephine without a bridle or a saddle. In fact I had to ride her bareback for several months while I raised the money to buy a saddle.

My heroes growing up were Gene Autry and Roy Rogers so I have always loved cowboy stories. One of my favorite movies is Lonesome Dove. So you can imagine how excited I was to discover that one of my favorite preachers writes poetry about cowboys.

        Brad McClain is doing some mighty fine preaching on the coast near Mobile. He and I have been friends for forty years but I learned only recently that he also writes poetry. His poems have a certain tenderness that stirs my heart and makes me want to saddle up and find a herd of cattle out on some western ranch.

        A good preacher, Brad is really a cowboy at heart. His way of relaxing is to go for a ride on his handsome horse and while riding compose poems about some of the tough issues of life. His poems are rather like poetic sermons that drive home biblical principles about life’s hard questions.

        While I enjoy grappling with great ideas in prose, I have never tried my hand at poetry. But I think I know a good poem when I see one and this is a fine one by Brad McClain that I want to share with you.




Sometimes I wonder, and have to ask why,

Tragedy happens and people die.


Someone gets bucked off, bounces and rolls,

Another is injured, and then comatose.


Some soon recover, God answers prayer,

Some get worse and die, it does not seem fair.


I know a cowboy, who’s close to the Lord,

Knows all the scripture, and trusts in the Word.


Says there’s no way, to make it make sense,

Viewed from the earthly, side of the fence.


But if then somehow, God helps us to see,

And we can trust Him, then finally,


The answers we need, will come to us when,

We choose to leave it, in His hands and then,


That day will come, the Bible says so,

That when we see Him, we will all know.


And in the meantime, when things go wrong,

Life gets confusing, and there is no song,


I saddle my best horse, and get in a trot,

Pray as I’m riding, and give all I’ve got,


To Jesus who knows us, and loves us all,

Even when trouble, makes its worst call.


“...And we know that all things work together

for good to those who love God, to those

who are called according to His purpose...”

(Rom. 8:28)


        You can secure more of Brad’s cowboy poems by contacting him at + + +