Laurel Thomas

Monthly Archive: February 2014

Wednesday

26

February 2014

2

COMMENTS

Treasure in the River

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A blue-gray sky signaled the day to come as my sister and I readied ourselves to board Turkish Airlines, flight 3327, to JFK. It was 6:30 a.m. in Istanbul, exotic, yet blurry to our sleep-deprived eyes. We had traveled since 9 p.m. that evening and were headed home after ten days in Israel.

Two middle-eastern families with small children made it through the last check point as an official scanned carry-on luggage. A Hasidic Jewish family of six rested by the nearest gate. The announcement to board came and I checked one last time for my boarding pass. It wasn’t there.

I emptied my purse out in my seat. Still no boarding pass. I ran to the flight supervisor. He frowned and gave a disgruntled snort. With people pushing forward to board, all he needed was a careless American slowing progress. One more panicked check and there it was, tucked inside my passport pages.

I needed that boarding pass. It was proof of my seat on the airplane. Passing security points along the way, I’d offered proof of my identity through guards, interviews and x-ray scans. What to do when the hidden kept me from moving toward my goal?  

God is the Revealer of secret things. He knows what is in darkness because He is light. Daniel demonstrated how revelation comes from heaven to earth. It comes from a persistent, faith-filled cry. Daniel knew if revelation didn’t come, a hefty eunuch wielded a wicked blade to remove his head. (Daniel 2:22-23)

Most of us don’t look at revelation from God with that kind of urgency. I did have a boarding pass. It was just hidden. Desperation helped me find it.

Proverbs 2 shows us the proper attitude to get revelation from heaven. We cry out for insight and raise our voices for understanding. We seek wisdom like miners, chipping away at rock-like resistance to uncover the precious tucked away in the heart of God. This isn’t a side-line, or recreational activity. It is a lifelong necessity.

I learned in Jerusalem that when an enemy contends for what belongs to me, dig. As they dig, the Jewish people discover layer upon layer of their history. Those layers reveal mysteries. Hard work and unrelenting passion fuel their determination, despite an enemy’s opposition.

I get so comfortable. I don’t like to feel threatened. Yet the Jewish people know these threats every day. They’ve learned to defend what is precious. They’ve learned when all else fails, to dig deeper.

Treasures are always contended for. So when in doubt, dig. The gift is there, but it has to be uncovered. Humility teaches me to look for what I cannot see and to hear what I’ve not heard before. Obeying God requires a heart for knowing the unknown, not just for personal convenience, but as my daily bread.

On the final day of our trip, we visited the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. Our last stop was a circular walk around a cylinder of black mirrors extending many feet above and highlighted by single candles. We heard a child’s name, age and birthplace, then another, then another. We were told it takes two and a half years to honor over a million children by name. Gone, but not lost or forgotten, despite the hate and prejudice that destroyed them.

I’m learning to look, on purpose, for riches hidden in the heart of God. They belong to me. They are unlocked by unshakable desire. I don’t know all I need to know. My faith is in the Revealer of secret things.

These treasures may be hidden today, but when revealed, shape my world with a divine chisel. They move me forward, like that airplane headed home, through pressure and opposition. They carry a picture of His heart. What He reveals may save a child. Perhaps a nation. But without it, my world suffers.

Shalom,

Laurel Thomas

Thursday

6

February 2014

2

COMMENTS

Pregnant in the River

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It was 4:30 a.m. and two days before Thanksgiving at Jane Phillips Medical Center. Fluorescent lights blazed like eternal daylight on the ceiling of the labor room. The room’s once cool temperature was now a desert gale, sucking away at my careful deep breathing. 

Although designed to be inviting, it was still a hospital room. I felt like a skiff at open sea. Flat on my back and hooked to monitors, I faced each contraction like a surfer catching rogue waves. Composure capsized as my body took on the determined will of a baby coming out of his outgrown sanctuary.

My husband was present, but sick with a sinus infection. He slept upright on a nearby couch. Even the nurses were quiet as contractions got more intense and I listened to the rhythmic tick, tick of the baby’s heart monitor.

My doctor was out of town. His associate walked in as everything was set for delivery. Curly brown hair overtook crow’s feet and baggy eyelids. Blue scrubs on, he spoke to a nurse and nodded to me. Sweat broke out on his forehead as he waited to catch a baby in no hurry to exit. At last, with one final push, out popped Jonathan.

“Jesus Christ. He’s not breathing,” the doctor muttered.

At the end of my strength, I panicked. But in the next breath, an unexpected commando in me roared, “Jesus!”

The doctor looked up. My husband opened his eyes. The baby took a breath and cried.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain in the world are simply birth pangs. But not only around us, it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs…Waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting.  (Romans 8 The Message)

Pregnant goes from theoretical to real life when we are the ones being stretched. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us we are stretched, not so we will break, but by His loving kindness. There’s more in us then we know. (Jeremiah 31:3)

I had a dream in January. Our son, now grown and 17 years old, and I were taking care of triplets. They weren’t our babies. But they were neglected, so we stepped in. We weren’t prepared for any babies, much less three. No formula, no diapers, no baby equipment. As Jonathan and I left to get formula, I worried about three babies waking up hungry.

Babies in our dreams often represent creativity, our ability to give birth to new ideas. A neglected baby may be an aspect of our gifts we are overlooking. They represent new beginnings – new beginnings that stretch us, that take time. They inconvenience our schedules and require what we have to seek outside of ourselves.

Like Jonathan’s birth, circumstances are rarely ideal. We may feel alone, outnumbered, and out-challenged. But help is only a cry away. We may have to call upon the inner commando of His Spirit. Composure may be lost. But the baby will come. It will breathe. It will need food and care.

My prayer this year is that we look within for infant dreams waiting to be born. I want my schedule to yield to their appearance, neither expected or convenient. I don’t want to neglect them by inattention or preconceived ideas. They might not look like what I expected. They may show up unannounced, like labor that presses a baby from the womb. I might not have the equipment I need. I might have to go get it.

But these dreams are good and they are from God. We can nourish them by our attention and affection. They compel heaven’s attention and release earth’s transformation – as we acknowledge their life inside and let them enlarge us.

Blessings,

Laurel Thomas