“I had a crazy dream last night,” I told my wife as I studied my daughter’s senior portraits. “I dreamed our daughter (the same one sporting a butterfly tattoo since becoming of legal age last month) shaved her head.”

Worried the dream might inspire more coming-of-age behavior, my wife begged, “Please don’t tell her about that dream!”

Dreams can be funny. Some people think they can reveal reality while others see ways in which dreams can forge reality. And sometimes, as Pastor Randy Phillips of Creekside Covenant Church in Redmond, WA, experienced last week — it’s hard to tell which comes first, the dream or the reality.

Phillips’ church hosted a worship service to celebrate the rescue of missing Redmond girl, Laura Hatch, 17. And Sha Nohr came to the service to share the dream she had which led to that rescue.

Hatch was on the way home from a party October 2nd, when her car left the road and careened into a ravine. She remained trapped there for eight days until a dream inspired Sha Nohr, the mother of Laura’s friend, to search the an area where she found Laura.

Rescue crews were summoned and as they worked to pull a dehydrated Hatch from her car, Laura’s parents were called to the site, where according to Pastor Phillips, Sha Nor met Todd Hatch (Laura’s dad) for the first time.

Since Laura was found, there has been an intense focus on Sha’s remarkable dream but as I spoke with the Hatch’s pastor, I found him a bit concerned that folks will miss the real miracle. “The miracle that is most striking is the miracle of people loving and helping each other.

“To see a family stretched …to hear neighbors offer ‘anything you need,’ and checking back in with family … to watch people bring meals – so many that the family commented that ‘one more casserole would leave them no place to live.’

“To watch the friends of this remarkable young woman organize a professional search party and do a methodical search with 200 volunteers – this was the real miracle.”

In a day where the news is full of stories on global economy, the pastor sees a story here about spiritual economy at work. “There’s nothing wasted in God’s economy. I’ve been getting email from all over the planet. People say that for whatever reason, they stopped and prayed for Laura. There is an intricacy in how God works. He works in spectacular ways.

“It was emotionally overwhelming,” Phillips admitted, “We felt sorrow for the possibilities that could have been considered. We went a whole week and we were worried and scared, but the real story is that God has hope, and that hope is sustainable. When we begin to falter, God picks us up and says ‘I’ve got enough for all of us.'”

The family has a couple of requests, the pastor confided.

“They ask that people continue to pray for Laura’s recovery. And,” he added, “let’s pray for all our missing teenagers. Here in King County,” he said, “800 teenagers are missing.

“Second, the family wants to make sure that people hear their gratitude to God for every moment of this experience. They want people to hear the generosity of their community.”

In talking to Pastor Phillips, he would not admit a full understanding how Nohr was blessed with such a dream, but he was beginning to see how the workings of people coming together may have inspired such a dream.

“True, the dream is a remarkable element, but what God has done here is to give us a wonderful object lesson. The lesson is ‘This is what God’s heart is like — reconciling people to him!’ And God did this visually with this sweetheart named Laura. That’s the heartbeat of the story!” exclaimed Pastor Phillips.

Perhaps the Creekside website summarizes it best – “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” (Proverbs 28:18 – The Message)