Treasure Hunt #7

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Contributed by Julie Atwood.

Cheryl’s opening devotion, culled from her copy of the well-known Jesus Calling, proved especially timely before this morning’s adventure. “ ‘It is not an easy road, but it is a delightful and privileged way: a treasure hunt.’ ”

We all marveled at what we knew was no coincidence. And we wondered what today’s hunt would bring us.

Three toddler girls, all bundled into polka-dotted sweaters. Bins of pears and apples, shining bright lights, dolls and tennis shoes and shirts of pink and green and orange and gray and yellow. These proved only a few of the clues that led to this morning’s host of human Treasures.

Among the thirteen Treasure Hunters (not counting the two as yet too young for filling out forms), only Sharon left her sheet for clues completely blank. “I received no clues because the Lord told me I was wanting them for my glory, rather than His,” she confessed to the group. But she’d soon find God using her blank sheet anyway . . . to lead her to a Treasure and to find herself blessed by this lady in a special way.

Where would this all take place?

Sarah’s location clue of Target drew Pastor Cliff, Bonnye, and Julie—with their clues of red cap, red bench, and hearts—to join her in checking out that red-themed department store. The other nine Treasure Hunters—including Cheryl, Sharon, Brandy, Darla, Gerald, Jennifer, and her three children Cheyenne, Collin, and Corbin—felt called to a Neighborhood Walmart.

But before taking off for both these stores in Rockwall (“Walmart might be lending us a clue to head out there,” Sarah suggested), several folks encountered Treasures right at our “home base” inside Tom Thumb!

Darla found herself drawn to Joe and Myrtle, the elderly couple huddled at the table next to ours. Though Joe’s stooped, frail posture at first suggested to Darla her clues of joint pain and arthritic pain, she learned he instead suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
“There’s no cure,” he told her with shadows deepening the pouches beneath his eyes.

Darla warmed him with a smile. “God has power over life and death,” she reassured him and his wife as she prayed blessings over them.

Meanwhile Sarah noticed another potential Treasure, knitting with her friend in the seating area behind our table. “Hey look, there’s a woman wearing glasses,” she exclaimed to Bonnye. “And she also has another one of my clues . . . short reddish-brown hair.”

“Yeah, and she’s dressed in two of my clues . . . a ggreen shirt and tennis shoes.” Bonnye grinned at Sarah. “Let’s go for it.”

As they rose and headed over to greet their prospective Treasure—with Julie trailing in their wake—Sylvia’s face closed and she shrank a little in her chair. But her friend Corinne brightened, glanced up at the trio with a smile of keen interest. “I could sure use some prayer for my husband Harold,” she told the three Treasure Hunters. “He’s going in next month for heart surgery.”

Could this, Julie wondered, qualify as Brandy’s clue about a broken heart?

After the group prayed for Harold, leaving his wife Corinne’s lined face wreathed in many smiles, the group realized something else about this lady. “She not only wore glasses and had short reddish-brown hair, just like her friend . . . but she also was a much older woman.” Bonnye grinned. “Of course I couldn’t mention that to her as a clue.”

Later Julie would realize that Corinne’s permanent wave also matched her own clue of curly hair.

About thirty minutes later these three pulled into the parking lot of the Rockwall Target, where they joined Pastor Cliff in searching out assorted red clues. But the theme of their search turned out instead to center around Bonnye’s clue of polka-dots . . . all sprinkled across the sweaters of three cuddly two-year-old girls.

The first, little Chloe, peered shyly above a coat whose vibrant pink shade—another one of Bonnye’s clues—matched the rosy hue of her chubby cheeks. As the group headed over to the shopping cart in which the toddler perched swinging her legs, they also noted her mommy Lisa’s smoky gray sweatshirt and her daddy Ken’s tennis shoes (two more clues of Bonnye’s).

“No, we have no prayer needs I can think of.” That’s what Lisa told the group at first. But as Sarah blessed the family anyway—“May they find prosperity in their jobs”—Lisa’s eyes widened with amazement. Afterwards she admitted to the four Treasure Hunters, “Ken’s company might be outsized soon. If that happens, he really will need a job!”

No sooner had the group turned into an aisle stacked with assorted toys when they spotted little Hannah, polka-dotted toddler number two. Brandon, her six-year-old big brother, piped up with a trusting smile when Sarah asked this family about prayer requests. “My Aunt Katie wants to have a baby!”

“Yep, my sister Katie has been trying to get pregnant,” their mom Kerri agreed, a faint blush tinting her friendly face. And she welcomed the group’s prayers of blessing for the wannabe mother.

Little Bella, polka-dotted toddler number three, showed up as her aunt Shannon pushed her past the dolls. Her great-grandma Betty, strolling alongside the cart that contained the tiny girl, paused to greet the group who hailed this third Treasure of a family.

“We could really use some prayer for Bella’s sister,” Shannon told the Treasure Hunters. “Little Elizabeth’s recovering from heart surgery. She’s still at the Children’s Hospital in Houston.” As the little girls’ aunt and grandma showered the group with thanks for their prayers, Julie noticed Betty was another older woman wearing glasses . . . flashing her warm smile beneath curly reddish-brown short hair.

In the meantime, the nine other Treasure Hunters had strolled into Rockwall’s Neighborhood Walmart—a location suggested by such clues as market (Darla) and grocery store (Cheyenne).The moment they passed through the doors, Cheryl, Darla, and Gerald spotted their first quarry.

She stood beside a bin piled high with two of Cheryl’s clues—green apples and golden pears. Bedecked in a green shirt (Bonnye’s clue), Tina turned out to be—most fittingly—the produce manager.

“I’m divorced from an abusive husband, and I have five kids.” Tears misted Tina’s soft green eyes. “My daughter’s been telling me I need to go to church.”

“Well, we’ll pray for God’s provision and for His might and strength,” Cheryl reassured her, recalling this was one of her clues. After she and the others lifted the wearied woman in prayer, Cheryl fished inside her purse for a card with the address of New Horizon . . . and instead came up with a TPM card. “That might be just what she needs the most,” she commented later on.

Jennifer soon spotted a man wearing one of her clues . . . an orange shirt. When she and her three kids approached him, accompanied by Sharon and Brandy, they learned John suffered from diabetes (Brandy’s clue) as well as from high blood pressure. As the group prayed over him, his wife Alicia showed up. “Would you also please pray for my son?” she asked the Treasure Hunters with tears glinting in her eyes. “I haven’t seen him in thirty years, and I don’t even know if he’s a believer.”

Alicia joined the others in holding up her son, then moved on to offer prayers for the nation of Israel. As she raised her head she beamed and exclaimed with joy, “I feel so light!”

More lights—a clue of both Jennifer and Cheryl—were soon to show up at Neighborhood Walmart. Cheyenne spotted them first. “Hey look, Mom!” Nudging Jennifer with excitement, she pointed to the light bulbs wedged into the bottom of a nearby shopping cart.

Its owner, warm-hearted Lorene, turned out to suffer from neck pain (a clue shared by Pastor Cliff, Jennifer, and Julie), as well as spina bifida and an aneurysm. After Cheyenne prayed aloud for her, Lorene wrapped the compassionate young Treasure Hunter in a hug. And she assured her with shining eyes, “That’s the best prayer I’ve ever received!”

Warmed by God’s touch upon her life, the saintly Lorene proved only too eager to share her story with the Treasure Hunters. “I used to be homeless and sleep in my car,” she told them. “That’s how I met my husband—he was a homeless guy I found out also slept in his car. Since then the Lord has blessed us both, so now I gather up Bibles and clothes and share them with other homeless people. I work with the Stewpot and the Bridge Ministry. You see, I don’t want anyone to feel the way I used to . . . as though they’re trash.”

With her own eyes as moist as Lorene’s, Sharon discreetly slipped her a gift card for her work before the group moved on.

“I know you!” The cracked voice, fine as a spiderweb, spun out in delight as the ancient lady—clad in Jennifer’s clue of a yellow shirt—inched her way toward Jennifer and her three kids. “Your husband works with Bob.” Stars danced in the eyes of ninety-two-year-old Gladys as she fondly surveyed the young family. “You need to tell little Bobby I said hi.” They all promised, Jennifer smiling at the thought of her husband’s “little” co-worker. The lively old lady clearly enjoyed getting out to shop and to interact with friends.

On their way out the door Cheryl and Sharon met Ellen, who suffered from knee problems (a clue shared by Gerald, Jennifer, and Pastor Cliff). “Would you also pray for my sister Lori? She’s struggling with addiction issues.”

As the two Treasure Hunters enveloped Ellen and her sister in prayer, they marveled that there seemed to be no end to today’s Treasures. And one of these had found herself blessed with no benefit of clues.

Well, Rita did have on black boots . . . one of Brandy’s clues. But, as she cheerfully assured Sharon, “I have no prayer needs. I’m just enjoying life with my new rabbit.”

“Let’s bless you anyway,” Sharon told her warmly. And speaking God’s blessings over Rita and her rabbit, she added, “May God’s Light in you shine on others.”

Later at the pizza shop, where the two teams of Treasure Hunters convened for lunch, Sharon reflected upon the Light shining through Rita as the blessing was spoken over her. Holding up her own blank sheet with no clues, she said, “This Treasure blessed me most of all . . . by letting God Himself be the Treasure through her.”

As Cheryl had earlier quoted her Lord in this morning’s timely devotional: “ ‘I am the Treasure, and the glory of My Presence glistens and shimmers along the way.’ ”


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