California’s devastating wildfires may have destroyed roughly 95 percent of Paradise, but one symbol was left standing among the ashes that gives its residents hope.
Our Savior Lutheran Church Pastor Brandon Merrick posted the hopeful photo on Facebook two days after flames engulfed the town along with the 54-year-old church building and the parsonage where his wife and two kids lived.
Still standing was the simple wooden cross in the middle of the parking lot.
“I told our church I really hope that that picture can be used as the picture for the fire, because, as the church, everything that man builds with our hands is perishable, but what God does for us through the cross is imperishable and cannot be taken away or burned up,” Merrick told Fox News. “And that’s what I love about the picture.”
He said his family had to quickly evacuate along with the pre-school kids present the day the fire advanced toward the church grounds. Even though it was only nine in the morning, Thursday, Nov. 8, it was as dark as midnight when the pastor left.
“I hate this picture. However, I also love this picture,” Merrick wrote to his congregation online, adding it “is not just a heartbreaking reminder of what can happen to the things and people of this world, this is our one true hope in the midst of tragedy that cannot be destroyed by anything. God is with us.”
The church is meanwhile meeting at a sister church, Redeemer Lutheran Church, about 20 miles away in Chico.
The photo, taken by Tyler Frank and Elizabeth Osborn as they escaped the flames, went viral on social media as many resonated with the powerful image. For Frank and Osborn, the church and the cross was a glimmer of hope.
Source: Fox News