On the transatlantic flight to my excavation last Saturday, I sat in a bulkhead aisle seat with an empty seat next to me. On the other side of that seat was a mother with an infant child. While I planned to work as much as possible and wasn’t thinking about sleeping, sitting near an infant on an airplane is not something I cherish.
But that is where God put me and there was still plenty for which to be thankful, and I was. It was a good flight and little Solarah slept most of the time. When she was awake, her eyes were bright, here smile infectious and her spirit serene. I told her mother that Solarah was an amazing child.
Solarah and mom were preoccupied almost the whole flight, as was I. But her Italian mother spoke English and saw all the archaeological material with which I was working and asked about it. I explained our excavation at Khirbet el-Maqatir and how it fit the Joshua story in the Bible – and thus my interest.
I added that the Bible has also had a profound influence on my life and one of my motivations for archaeology – to understand the Bible better. That perked her interest even more and she asked some questions about my faith in the God of the Bible.
Then she told me that, when pregnant with Solarah, a priest came into her hospital room unannounced and asked to pray for her soon-to-be born child. He placed his hands on momma’s big tummy and prayed for the little one soon to come. Not a church lady, Solarah’s mother was touched by the whole experience and her child’s alert, pleasant and serene spirit kept her thinking about it.
It is my prayer that little Solarah and her mom get to know the God of the Bible who really does make a difference in people’s lives.
One Flight at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director