GOD & TEXAS: Garner State Park
Fifteen miles south of the three Twisted Sisters motorcycle ride, you will find the most popular state park in Texas. Created in 1941, Garner State Park was named for native Texan John Nance Garner, former vice president of the United States.
The park is known for its wildlife, wildflowers, hiking trails, and amazing cypress trees. And don’t miss climbing Old Baldy mountain to see the Painted Rock, the Bridges Trail, and several mysterious caves. But the main attraction is the Frio River that provides swimming, tubing, and paddle boats. At night, campers gather at the riverside dance pavilion for good fellowship, country music, and mini-golf.
My first visit to Garner State Park was around 1949. Looking back, my family may have been classified as “primitive campers.” Modern vacationers take a pop-up camper with electricity, bathrooms, cushy beds, a kitchen, and a refrigerator. Or some might just take a dome tent and sleeping bags. Even those choices would have been quite luxurious compared to us.
Most of my dad’s “camping” gear came from military surplus stores, and consisted of a large tarp “roof” tied to four trees, army cots, kerosene lamps, and metal mess kits. At least my mom’s cuisine made the trip amazing. Sometimes at night, critters would rummage through our foodstuff. How exciting!
But we were not the first to pitch our tent in this Edwards Plateau region. It is thought that over 12,000 years ago people began visiting the area. Primarily, nomads fished in the river and hunted in the bountiful woods. And then they would take down their tents and move on. In 1689, explorer Alonso De Leon “discovered” the river that was later named the Frio, Spanish for “cold.”
All of these people came, camped, and left uplifted. They had tents, or teepees, or some other covering signifying that they were just passing through. And that’s true of us, too. We are all pilgrims, temporary residents of the earth. Some stay longer that others, but no one gets out alive. Like the old hymn says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through; my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.”
Did you know that the Bible states that Jesus came to “tent” among us? John 1:14 KJV, “And the Word was made flesh, and DWELT among us.” The original word for dwelt (KJV), means tent, encamp, or to have my tabernacle.
The Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Notice, we are all just camping on earth. But one glorious day, Christians will break camp and move into the House not made with hands.
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