June 22, 2009
by Charles R. Swindoll
"Can you see anything?"
What a question to ask! Howard Carter's mouth and eyes were wide open when his aide asked it. His head was stuck into a timeless tomb. Beads of perspiration popped out on the British archaeologist's brow. For six straight years he had been digging. Endless trenches. Tons of rubble. Huge chunks of worthless debris. Nothing!
It was 1922. For more than a score of centuries, archaeologists, tourists, and tomb robbers had searched for the burial places of Egypt's pharaohs. It was believed that nothing remained undisturbed---especially in the Royal Valley where the ancient monarchs had been buried for over half a millennium. Because nobody felt there was anything left to be discovered, Carter carried on his pursuit, privately financed, with only a few scraps of evidence to keep him going. Somewhere . . . somehow . . . he was convinced there was one remaining tomb. Twice during his six-year search he was within two yards of the first stone step leading to the burial chamber.
Can you see anything?
That was like pilot Michael Collins on July 20, 1969, asking Armstrong and Aldrin, "Do you feel anything?" as moon dust formed puffy white clouds around their boots.
Peering into silent darkness, Howard Carter saw what no modern man had ever seen: wooden animals, statues, chests, gilded chariots, carved cobras, unguent boxes, vases, daggers, jewels, a throne, the wooden figure of the goddess Selket . . . and a hand-carved coffin of a teenaged king. In his own words, he saw "strange animals, statues, and gods---everywhere the glint of gold." It was, of course, the priceless tomb and treasure of King Tutankhamen, the world's most exciting archaeological discovery. More than 3000 objects in all, taking Carter about ten years to remove, catalog, and restore. "Exquisite!" "Incredible!" "Elegant!" "Magnificent!" "Ahhh!" Words like this must have passed his lips dozens of times when he first whispered his way through that ancient Egyptian cocoon.
There are few joys like the joy of sudden discovery. Instantly forgotten is the pain and expense of the search, the inconveniences, the hours, the sacrifices. Bathed in the ecstasy of discovery, time stands still. Nothing else seems half so important. Lost in the thrill of the moment, we relish the inexpressible finding---like a little child watching a worm.
Such discoveries have many faces . . .
the answer to a lengthy conflict
insight into your own makeup
understanding the "why" behind a fear
just the right expression to describe a feeling
the reason your stomach churns in certain situations
getting to know your child's "bent"
a technique that saves time and energy
a simple way to communicate something complicated
motivating those who work under your direction
finding relief from needless guilt
Solomon talks about the greatest discovery of all. He puts it in words that describe the activity of a guy like Howard Carter---except in this case, he isn't searching for King Tut. Listen:
My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)
Talk about a discovery! Hidden in the Scriptures are priceless verbal vaults. Silent. Hard to find. Easy to miss if you're in a hurry. But they are there, awaiting discovery. God's Word, like a deep, deep mine, stands ready to yield its treasures.
Can you see anything?
Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.