Friday, February 21, 2014

Award-winning historical novel, Rebekah's Treasure. What do you treasure?

Hunting for Treasure
by Sylvia Bambola

The world is busy looking for treasure. I was a treasure seeker myself, once. Oh, I don’t mean the kind that long-ago pirates with parrots on their shoulders packed in heavy metal chests then buried in uncharted islands. I’m talking about the treasure people seek to make them feel safe and secure; to make them feel valued, significant and important; the treasure they seek to fill the void that only God can fill. Things like financial security, material possessions, pleasure, comfort, success, fame, a good reputation, happy homes and marriages, peace . . . well, you fill in the blank.

Obviously many of these things aren’t bad in themselves and in fact actually desirable and commendable. Who doesn’t want a happy home and marriage, for instance?  But the trouble with treasure is this: “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34) So if your heart is filled only with all your “wants” chances are you will become disappointed and perhaps even become embittered.


Being adopted, one of the greatest “treasures” I sought was to be married and have a happy, loving family. I did meet and marry a wonderful man. So far so good. A few years later we were ready to have children. But when our first child, Vincent, was born with Down Syndrome and then died many months later, my world was rocked. That which I held most dear was suddenly taken away. “What was life all about, anyway?” I asked.  It suddenly made no sense. But oh, how our loving God uses moments like this! In the vacuum, in the midst of my searching and seeking and studying various religions, I found Him! Standing right there beside me all along, patiently waiting for me to seek the greatest treasure of all.  And that changed everything. 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” How wonderful this is! It’s the “treasure” that’s capable of filling every void if only we allow God to do it.

I wish I could tell you that after I came to know Jesus personally life became a fulfillment of all my dreams, but I can’t. Like everyone else on planet earth, I’ve had my share of trials and tribulation. But here’s the difference. When your treasure truly is the Lord, even the losses and hardships of life are bearable, and what’s more they have the awesome power to conform us into something beautiful—the very image of Christ, though not as fast and as complete as I’d like. I’m smiling here, because aren’t we all like clay between the Potter’s hands? And though our progress may be slow we can be encouraged because God promises in Philippians 1:6 that “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” So He’s never going to give up on us. Never! For my part I’m so glad He’s still working on me!

This whole concept of treasure is one of the reasons I wrote Rebekah’s Treasure. It, too, is a story about treasure. And though the story is set in 70 A.D. the heroine, Rebekah must face many of the challenges we face today in our violent, chaotic world. And in the end, like all of us, she and other characters in the novel must decide where their treasure lies. And make no mistake, this is not always easy. In fact it’s often a hard fought battle with the question always being: Will we seek God’s way or our own? Fame comes and goes. Finances can be shaken and depleted. A good reputation can be lost, even undeservedly. Pleasure is fleeting. And we can lose those we love. But the treasure of God’s presence in our lives, His peace, His joy remains as long as we abide in Him.

But here’s the kicker. Not only is God our treasure, but we are His treasure as well! Think about that. The very God who created the universe views us as His treasure. Once we understand that, there’s nothing we won’t be able to face in life.

May God become the true treasure He is in each of our lives.

About Sylvia Bambola:
Sylvia Bambola was born in Romania but lived her early years in Germany, a Germany still reeling from the devastation of World War II. At age seven she relocated with her adopted military family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in Germany lingered and was the inspiration behind her novel, Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist.

Life as an “army brat” gave her the opportunity to live in several states, including Hawaii. Then came nursing school in New York after which she married and began a family. Raising two children and being the wife of a corporate executive made for a busy life. So did working in marketing for a telecommunications company, then a medical software company.

Her first novel, A Vessel of Honor, written under the pen name of Margaret Miller, garnered a Small Press Editor’s Choice Award and was seriously considered for production as a television movie.

Bambola is the author of six published novels, lives in sunny Florida and has two grown children. She’s been a guest speaker at Women’s Aglow and various church functions, is a Bible study teacher at her church, loves gardening and is learning to play the guitar.


Links:

Twitter: @sylviabambola

Book Cover:

Rebekah’s Treasure Blurb:

FIRST PLACE WINNER FOR ADULT FICTION IN THE FLORIDA STATE ASSOCIATION NATIONAL LEAGUE OF AMERICAN PEN WOMEN
Forced to flee war-torn Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Rebekah and her husband, Ethan, each take something of value:  Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Ahead, separation and danger face them as each tries to survive. But it’s not only external forces that could keep them apart forever but internal ones as they struggle to discover where their true treasure lies.

Links to Rebekah’s Treasure: