Treasure Hunt: Traveling Two by Two (and Three)

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Contributed by Julie Atwood.

After encouraging us all to be “Jesus’ followers, not His fans,” Cheryl glances round the table at her fellow Treasure Hunters. “Let’s split up into pairs this morning, since that is how Jesus sent out His disciples.”

“I like that idea,” Sharla responds with a smile. “When we’re all together in one big group, I tend to hang back from participating.”

Cheryl does a quick head count. “Let’s see, there are seven of us today. That means we’ll need to have one group of three.”

Julie’s heart hammers. She knows if she doesn’t speak up now, she’ll end up—as the group’s most quiet member—the mute third member of that trio. And she wants, for the first time, to actually pray for a human Treasure. Aloud. “Is it okay if I go with just one other person? That way it will be easier for me to practice praying.”

With warm agreement, Cheryl teams Julie up with Sharon (who’s gifted with both a quiet spirit and a leader’s discerning strength). Then welcomes Sharla’s gracious offer to join Cheryl herself and her co-leader Abby.

The two men in the group—Pastor Cliff and Larry—end up paired together. Well, at least they do after we hit the Harbor . . . a location confirmed by such clues as beautiful, outside, water, dock, white birds, fish, and flowers.

But before we leave Tom Thumb, it’s Cheryl who joins Pastor Cliff to seek out our first Treasure—for they’ve both received the clues of here and Kayla. Yet heading off to the Starbucks’ counter where Kayla often serves their cappuccinos, they find her gone. “Oh, she’s at the back of the store, grabbing more milk,” a fellow employee informs the Treasure Hunters.

They soon find her . . . and learn her mom is suffering from a heart condition (a clue of both Cheryl and Abby). “The doctors say her condition’s aggravated by a cancer cell on her back,” Kayla shares with anxious eyes. “It’s inoperable.”

“We believe God heals people,” Pastor Cliff assures the young employee. Together he and Cheryl speak against the illnesses harassing Kayla’s mother . . . and also throw in prayers concerning Kayla’s search for a new job.

About fifteen minutes later at the Harbor, where Larry’s stream of water flows down from the fountain to the lake—

A flock of snowy seagulls wheeling over the lake’s sun-laced ripples confirms Sharon’s clue of white birds. But while the trio and the other pair head down toward the dock (Cheryl’s clue) to seek their Treasures, Sharon guides Julie alongside several nearby shops and restaurants. They stride straight past a man sprawled in a chair parked before one of the shops when Sharon halts her teammate. “Let’s check out that man we just passed. He didn’t show any of our clues, but I still have a feeling about him.”

They about-face, backtrack, approach the stranger. After explaining our mission, Sharon checks her clue sheet. “Is your name Jesse, by any chance?”

The young man’s face lights up. “It is!”

Beaming with as much delight as surprise, Jesse—whose clue name was received by Pastor Cliff as well as Sharon—shares he’s an overworked pastor, longing for a sliver of time during which he can grow quiet before God. And with Sharon’s gentle prompting, Julie receives the honor of praying aloud for the first time . . . for this pair’s first human Treasure.

Though far more flowers (beds of purple pansies, including one tattered bloom with Julie’s clue of missing petals) seem in abundance than do people, Sharon and Julie nevertheless manage to find . . .

Liz—also garbed in purple and with Larry’s clue of short brown hair—who requests prayer for her friend’s daughter Leah. “That fits Abby’s clue of family,” Sharon observes after they bid Liz and her two lady friends goodbye.

Bill and Ray, two valets clad in Julie’s color clue of navy blue. “You can pray for my family,” Ray likewise shares . . . and Julie receives her second crack at interceding aloud.

And Carlos, also in navy blue, who pauses with a grunt from heaving boxes into his truck to welcome Sharon’s interview and prayers concerning his divorce. (This is also Sharon’s clue, though it likewise relates to Cheryl’s clue of marriage).

Meanwhile, over by the fountain . . .

Cheryl, Abby, and Sharla approach a knot of teenage girls. “Do any of you have prayer needs?” Cheryl asks them after explaining the Treasure Hunt. “You can check our lists to see if any of our clues match.”

With a hesitant step forward, Skylar peers at Cheryl’s list. She blushes, shakes her head. Then asks, “May I borrow your pen?” Accepting it with a shy smile, she scribbles down the word anxiety.

Among the trio of Treasure Hunters, it’s Sharla who speaks up. “Can I pray for you, Skylar?” When the timid teen nods, she asks in a considerate tone, “Mind if I touch you?”

When Skylar assures her she doesn’t mind, Sharla lays a gentle hand on the girl . . . and speaks with boldness against the torments of anxiety. “I feel peace,” Skylar shares, beaming after the prayer.

“Can I see that paper too?” Skylar’s lively friend Renee bounces up to scan Cheryl’s clue sheet. “Hey, I see donuts here. But what I like even better is . . .” She grabs the pen with a cheeky grin, her eyes dancing with mischief. And the whole group bursts into giggles when she scrawls out the word chocolate.

As the three Treasure Hunters meander down toward the lake, they spot a young couple standing by the docks (Cheryl’s clue). Approaching flaxen-haired Betsy in her maroon-purple sweater, Cheryl explains their mission then unfolds her paper. “Do any of these clues speak to you?”

Betsy studies Cheryl’s clue sheet, and her eyes grow wide as her finger finds a clue. “Yes—I want hope.” Pointing to a name farther on the list she explains, “My cousin Eric needs salvation. . . .”

Meanwhile the pair of guys—Pastor Cliff and Larry—go strolling down the pier. Above them another flock of seagulls—Sharon’s white birds—dip and soar through pristine blue against a splash of sunlight. Below the wheeling gulls, ten or twelve people dot the wooden plank—a large and lively family whose brightest-hued member gleams yellow as the sunshine overhead. Yellow . . . a clue shared by Pastor Cliff and Sharon.

When Cliff interviews Maria, who sports the sunny shirt, her cinnamon face bursts into light that glows even brighter than the fabric of her shirt. “This is so amazing.” Her jaw drops and her melted-chocolate eyes grow wide with wonder. “Only this morning, I was praying that the Lord would send someone over to us today to show us that He’s real.”

“Hey, wanna see my car?” Her little son Roberto pipes up. With a grin, the small boy bears aloft a toy matchbox car . . . a model from the Pixar movie Cars.
Exactly the same model Pastor Cliff pictured earlier at Tom Thumb, while the Treasure Hunters prayed for clues!

Miracles come in twos and threes, in all shapes and sizes. They can be as big as the healing of a cancer cell, a broken heart, or a broken marriage. . . .

Or one divine encounter that convinces a seeking human Treasure God is real.

And they can also prove as small as a child’s matchbox car . . .

Or a Treasure Hunter’s willingness to become the third member of a trio. So freeing another—with the encouragement of her teammate—to attempt praying aloud for the first time.

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