Twenty-five years ago somewhere in France, Régis Hauser – better known as author Max Valentin – secretly buried a bronze statuette of an owl in flight. The statuette, buried on the night of the 23rd April 1993, is a copy of a beautiful, gold and silver original, and is the subject of the book, “Sur La Trace de La Chouette d’Or”, (On the Trail of the Golden Owl). Like it’s UK predecessor, “Masquerade” by Kit Williams, the book is an armchair treasure hunt, but unlike “Masquerade”, the treasure has still to be found and the prize of the gold and silver original has yet to be claimed.
Unfortunately Max Valentin died in April 2009, leaving only a sealed envelope containing the location of the bronze statuette. No one alive today knows the whereabouts of the bronze bird. Even Michel Becker, who sculpted the owl and illustrated the book is unaware of its whereabouts. Unless the envelope is opened, the only way to discover the owl is to correctly decipher the book’s eleven clues, which thousands of “chouetteurs” still puzzle over – and which are freely available online – or alternatively one could pray for divine inspiration!
In Babylon (present-day Iraq), in the Sixth Century BC, using the supernatural for guidance was a commonly accepted practice in royal circles. Many astrologers and diviners were employed to advise the monarch and interpret omens, although accuracy and success were never guaranteed. One surviving record describes how Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a disturbing dream, and demanded that before interpreting it, his magicians and wise men describe the dream to him without any help from himself. Of course none of them could, and the order was given to kill them all! But just in time, Daniel, a young Hebrew, heard about the king’s order and offered to tell the king his dream and give the interpretation.
Daniel told the king, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. … As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen …” (Daniel 2:27-29 NIVUK). In other words, Daniel himself couldn’t interpret the dream, but God could!
Our Creator is all-knowing – Daniel described Him as “the revealer of mysteries.” Nothing escapes His attention; there’s no sadness He doesn’t share; no good times that pass Him by. He even knows how many hairs are on our head! He’s aware of everything we think, everything we do and everything we go through. As Julie Schwab wrote: “When we’re unsettled by the chaos of life, it’s easy to forget that God is standing in the middle of the storm with us.” He’s there, looking upon us with love, willing to give us a fresh start, and offering us a relationship with Him that will last for all eternity. But whether He’ll direct us to a subterranean, bronze owl is another matter!