We take road trips (and airplane trips) for the purpose of enjoying God’s creation, hiking a bit and taking photos. My husband delights in allowing me to hunt down the perfect shot! Blessed.
Last week, we took a little hour road trip to Bastrop State Park. On our way, we planned to see the bluebonnets and other wildflowers and then… get a perfect picture of the little pine tree crosses that appear a couple of weeks before Easter to announce Christ’s resurrection!
Just prior to shooting the pine tree crosses, I noticed this wonderful, almost whimsical scene. One that not only made me smile but touched me deeply.
In 2011, Bastrop had a terrible fire. People lost their homes and livelihoods and wondered if life would ever be the same. Two precious people were lost in those fires. Afterward, when you looked up…instead of the beautiful life-giving pines against the blue backdrop…your eyes now fell on towers of charred black against a gray smoky sky. At your feet were acres of twisted and charred black trees.
Of course, there were many tears seen on television interviews. Yet, behind the tears… was hope! We saw God during that time. We saw His spirit strengthening the people who were hurting and…the people who were helping.
Now, just over 7 years later, we were driving up the curvy roads to find the little pine crosses…those meaningful little symbols of hope and joy. Out of nowhere, this “other” symbol of joy appeared. Not sure how close we were to the edge of the curved road and the drop off, my husband chose to back up, just so I could “get the shot”. I am so glad I asked and so glad he was willing!
On the edge of the tallest hill was this smiling face. The sun was glistening off the edges of his cheeks and bouncing off of the blackened remains of what were once majestic pines. At the bottom of the charred pine towers was fresh green…new life…hope beginning to be realized. All around us were gorgeous young trees…flourishing. More symbols of hope.
I couldn’t help but wonder if this smiling face was there during the fire…or if it was painted afterwards. In my mind’s eye, I think it was there…smiling with the knowledge and assurance that things were going to be okay again…that there was absolutely, irrevocably hope.
Though human eyes couldn’t see it at the time, restoration had already begun!
I thought about how (for the believer) the pine tree crosses symbolize hope and how today this beautiful, whimsical face symbolized hope for me. I smiled all across that forest as we searched for the perfect pine-cross picture.
I couldn’t help but smile, because in my heart…I knew that this…this sweet water-tower-happy-face was my perfect picture.
In a very different way than the pine tree crosses do, this little guy (though not really so little) made me think of our God…smiling at us…knowing what we sometimes don’t know…can’t feel.
God is at work…He is here…
In Him…there is always…always…hope!
Romans 15:13 says, “May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in him. Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (GWT).