This song is also one of my favorite songs. I have sung it in church many times throughout the years. I found that it was written in 1970 by Ronnie Hinson who was a teenager at the time. He and his siblings were at “The Pentecostal Tabernacle” rehearsing for an upcoming concert and were searching for new material. Ronnie went to the downstairs bathroom with the intention of coming back with their new original hit song, and they all had a good laugh. He was gone for several minutes and returned to the sanctuary with a long piece of toilet paper with the title “The Lighthouse.” As he begins to sing someone grabbed it wadded it up, laughed and told them to get back to the hymnals. His brother Kenny, their guitar player, collected that piece of toilet paper out of the trash as he had an idea. When he started playing and singing the presence of the Lord filled the sanctuary, and from that point on it was a hit.
This is not the end of the story because at the time Ronnie had written this song he had never laid eyes on a lighthouse before. He truly did not understand what was so special about his song, until he jumped on his bicycle and rode 30 miles to find a lighthouse. He parked his bike and climbed up on a sand dune and for the first time to his knowledge saw the Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Santa Cruz, California. As he sat staring at the lighthouse that was so desolate looking, He thought, “What a scene,” there stood the lighthouse filled with hope in the middle of all that dreary hopelessness of the gray ocean. He then looked at the words written on that piece of toilet paper and with tear-filled eyes he knew that it was something that God had orchestrated. No matter how many songs he wrote or how many awards he received for writing them he always remembers that trip to the lighthouse as Gods way of keeping him humble.
Ronnie along with his siblings Kenny, Larry, and Yvonne sang as a gospel group for the first time in 1967 during a revival service at a small church in Freedom, California. They were first known as the Singing Hinson Family and as they got more popular just The Hinsons. However, now they are known as The Original Hinsons so they are distinguished from Bo Hinsons’ group known as the New Hinsons.