“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” —Jeremiah 29:11 (TLB).

Driving east after a four-day writers’ conference in Colorado ended, my friend and I were anxious to get home. We’d spent most of each day in workshops and visiting with other conference attendees. I’d also led two workshops.

We met accomplished authors and those who dreamed of becoming an author. While there, we listened to the stories of both and shared our own stories of disappointments, trials, victories and hope. We made friends. We encouraged each other.

On our daily walks to and from our housing to the conference center, we marveled at God’s creation. Snow-capped mountains towered over the valley where we stayed. Abundant wildlife, including elk, roamed freely around the grounds and in town. Although we’d been warned, we never encountered any bears.

Each day’s view of the towering mountains reminded me of Psalm 121:1-2: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Hoping to arrive home early Sunday afternoon, we departed on Saturday after lunch. Our plans included an overnight stay in Kansas before continuing the final leg of our journey.

However, we hadn’t anticipated those God moments we would encounter on the highway. They would lead to delays, a much later arrival time in Oklahoma and hope-filled sights.

Before we left Colorado behind, we encountered a band of over 600 motorcycle riders, part of an annual event called Run for the Wall. Although the event had been founded by two Vietnam veterans, participants from all wars from different parts of the U.S. were headed to Washington D.C., where they would meet up with other riders from across the U.S. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Their motto is “We ride for those who can’t.”

As we drove in the cold, misty rain adjacent to the group on the two-lane highway, we marveled and sometimes choked back tears at the welcome these brave souls received along their journey.

Reaching overpasses, we witnessed groups above waving the American flag and holding signs of welcome. Flashing lights from ambulances, fire trucks and police cars announced their support.

Vehicles headed west, pulled onto the opposite highway shoulder. Occupants stood beside their automobiles. Some waved. Others saluted. A few, including two young people, placed hands over their hearts. In spite of a country divided by racial, religious and political division, our hope soared at this display.

Leaving the caravan of riders behind, we encountered other signs of hope on our journey. Out of the misty rain, several rainbows emerged, stretching across the sky and spanning both sides of the highway. Bands of color popped in the overcast sky, reminding us of God’s promise to Noah and every living creature on earth.

Our travels ended at our front doors, but our trust in God and our hope for the future was renewed.

Round is a former Jay High School instructor who now resides in Grove. In addition to writing a weekly faith-based column, “A Matter of Faith,” Round spends time with her grandchildren, shooting photos, hiking, working in her yard, reading and studying the Word, volunteering at her church and going on mission trips. For more information, or to contact Round, persons interested may contact her at carol@carolaround.com.