Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Ark on our Shoulders by Laurel Thomas

Every writing project is a journey. At the end, we arrive at a destination that depends on every bit of our hard work. There were obstacles we had to leap over and lots of fine-tuning to do.  Our laptops flamed with the rush of inspiration one moment and grew stone cold at the next as we wondered what in the heck we were thinking.

Angst. It gets old. So, we press on anyway. We keep writing, keep working until the final product shines. Or at least we know it’s the best we can do. Even then we join a critique group, hire an editor and get other trained eyes on it, just to be sure.

In my head I knew the Lord was in the process. But one morning I saw proof of it in an obscure passage in I Kings 8. 

Here’s the back story. Construction of Solomon’s temple was complete - down to the tiniest facet of magnificence and order. 

It was time for the Ark of His Presence to arrive. Priests carried it with wooden poles on their shoulders to the inner sanctuary. Everything in that room had been prepared to receive the presence of God. Golden cherubim, crafted especially for the Ark, spread their wings over it. The walls themselves were overlaid with gold and shone with a luminescence. 

It was all dazzling. Except for those wooden poles the priests had used. They stayed in the middle of all that splendor, sticking out from under the Ark. (I Kings 8:8)

Wooden poles sticking out? In a place so glorious and intricate in detail that it’d taken thousands of workmen seven years to complete? 

Surely, they could’ve gotten rid of them. After all, the poles weren’t needed anymore. The Ark was in the temple to stay. No more mobile-home tabernacle to carry it everywhere God’s people went. 

Why were the poles still there?

Maybe to remind us that His presence was once carried on the shoulders of people. Those wooden poles weren’t fancy, but they were proof that God chose people to carry Him to a specific destination.  

Maybe you just submitted an article, wrapped up the resolution of your novel or finished a memoir. There was a journey to get there. One that you carried on your shoulders throughout the process. 

It’s true that the Lord was there every step of the way. But our work mattered. Our efforts carried an idea, a story, a poem to completion.  

Carrying that Ark into the temple took work. Teaming up with God takes work. But we can remember those wooden poles. Like them, we might end up in the middle of something beautiful!

A former high school English teacher, Laurel Thomas has written for magazines such as Guideposts, Mysterious Ways and others. In addition to her foray into fiction with her first novel, Laurel has ghosted books and edited others. As general administrator of Write Well, Sell Well OKC, she helps facilitate an annual conference and other opportunities to equip writers.   Laurel holds degrees in English and Counseling. She is a chaplain for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations, as well as being a lay pastor at Church on the Rock, Oklahoma City, OK.  Check out her blog at and her website at