A Thrilling Moment for a Bible Investigator

2011/02/King-Tut-Natl-Geographic.jpg Photo ©Copyright/Courtesty of National Geographic

It’s funny how your whole world can become a different shape and color, depending on the glasses you put on. An archaeology class for me in the past would likely have been a bunch of meaningless, unrelated facts, memorized for a grade. But I’m happy to say that I’ve grown past that now, and everything I’m learning in my college classes is full of richer, deeper meaning, as I draw parallels to life.

The name of my archaeology class is compelling enough: “8 Great Archaeological Discoveries of the Ancient World.” Every two weeks we take a different mysterious ancient civilization and study it. What such study would be complete without a gander into the mysteries of ancient Egypt and the great pyramids? The highlight for me during weeks 3–4 was reading about Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb (Tut, for short)  in 1922. In the first two paragraphs, I knew it was going to be an absolute delight.

“This was to be our final season in the valley. Six full seasons we had excavated there, and season after season had drawn a blank; we had worked for months at a stretch and found nothing, and only an excavator knows how desperately depressing that can be; we had almost made up our minds that we were beaten, and were preparing to leave the valley and try our luck elsewhere; and then—hardly had we set hoe to ground in our last despairing effort than we made a discovery that far exceeded our wildest dreams.

“Let me try and tell the story of it all. It will not be easy, for the dramatic suddenness of the initial discovery left me in a dazed condition, and the months that have followed have been so crowded with incident that I have hardly had time to think. Setting it down on paper will perhaps give me a chance to realize what has happened and all that it means….”

Carter’s sentiments parallel my own discovery of buried treasure after many years of devoted spiritual excavation. The discovery? The boundless love of God and His inclusive plan for all people.

Let me back up. After years of reading through the Bible and somewhat unsuccessfully trying to unlock the hidden meaning or to bring together the seeming stumping contradictions, it felt like it was fruitless and almost quitting time. And just when it felt like understanding would never come, we (my husband and some friends who study the Bible together) hit the big time! The door was penetrated, light flooded in, and treasures untold came into view. And just like Carter, we have been captivated, euphorically dazed, and happily overwhelmed since, trying to sort through it all, encapsulate it, and explain it all to others.

While Carter’s discovery was a massive treasury of gold and gems, ours was a massive treasury of illuminating, priceless truths—truths that were in plain sight all the time! Only our ill-fitting, mud coated “glasses” kept us from seeing them. Here are just a handful of dozens of such golden treasures, “buried” in plain sight:

“And in you [Abraham] all the families of the earth will be blessed.”  Genesis 12:3

“Love does not fail.” 1 Corinthians 13:8

“For as in Adam all died, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order…” 1 Corinthians 15:22–28

“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13

“And He Himself is the propitiation [satisfaction or appeasement] for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2

What magnificent, priceless gems of truth! Carter’s concluding expressions about the discovery of timeless treasure once again echo my own feelings…

“It was a thrilling moment for an excavator. I found myself, after years of comparatively unproductive labor, on the threshold of what might prove to be a magnificent discovery. …Presently my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist…statues, gold . . . everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment—an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by—I was struck dumb with amazement and when Lord Carnarvon enquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ It was all I could do to get out the words: ‘Yes, wonderful things.’

“I suppose most excavators would confess to a feeling of awe…when they break into a chamber closed and sealed by pious hands so many centuries ago. Three thousand, four thousand years maybe, have passed and gone since human feet last trod the floor on which you stand, and yet, as you note the signs of recent life around you—the blackened lamp, the finger mark upon the freshly painted surface—you feel it might have been but yesterday.

“The very air you breathe, unchanged throughout the centuries, you share with those who laid the mummy to its rest… That is perhaps the first and dominant sensation, but others follow thick and fast—the exhilaration of discovery, the fever of suspense, the almost overmastering impulse, born of curiosity, to break down seals and lift the lids of boxes, the thought—pure joy to the investigator—that you are about to add a page to history, or solve some problem of research, the strained expectancy of the treasure-seeker.

“How much time we occupied in this first survey of the wonders of the tomb I cannot say, but it must have seemed endless to those anxiously waiting in the antechamber. …It was curious as we stood in the antechamber, to watch their faces as, one by one, they emerged from the door. Each had a dazed, bewildered look in his eyes, and each in turn, as he came out, threw up his hands before him, and unconscious gesture of impotence to describe in words the wonders that he had seen. They were indeed indescribably, and the emotions they had aroused in our minds were of too intimate a nature to communicate… It was an experience which, I am sure, none of us who were present is ever likely to forget…

Have you ever had such a moment of thrilling discovery in your own journey? Tell us about it!

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  • truebeliever53

    The first time I had a thrillling moment of decovery was the last time I Kept the Passover. I was sitting listening to the pastor read a letter from the head pastor in Pasadena. When he read the part about grace, it was like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders. A new found freedom I had never experience came into my life. The plain fact that I didn't have to worry about forgiveness ever again overwhelmed me. The said part was most of the congregation would have none of it. They liked there bondage and they were sticking to it.

  • Yes!!! He keeps revealing more and more to me..just like how you described! It's the most amazing Gospel.. Like in Luke 2 where the angels says "Great joy shall be to ALL people" rejoice!!

    • jferwerd

      Simply awesome. Every day is brighter since my discovery. Have you ever read Hannah Whiteall Smith's account of her moment of discovery in the three chapters that were cut out of her book (by modern publishers) in "The Unselfishness of God"? I can share them if you never have.

  • drey

    I concur Julie. In 2009 I was so frustrated with my life after being a regular church member for almost all my life that I challenged God to make my life better. Little did I know that after shaking my finger at God and telling him that if my life did not change in 3 months I was going to chuck it all. Well of course He got the last 'laugh' cause' here I am a year and six months later singing his praises daily. It seems that what was missing was a willing heart and an obedient spirit. Yep, mine!
    I am in awe today at the wonder of his grace in my life. I am truly amazed at the difference obedience has made. After praying about my weaknesses, my problems, my dreams, my disappointments, my desires, I am convinced that God moved because I couldn't. I had tried so many times and failed. I think I had a full year of crying. Even now I still tear up when I see/feel his work in my life and the lives of others.
    Oh I can't explain what it means for me to be finally at peace and resting in his arms. Only He knows, I really can't explain it.