God speaks to me through library books

Despite having three-sometimes-four children in my house, I usually have some idea where my possessions are, including the many library books that come in and out every month.  With the library books, however, there seems to be some sort of gremlin that comes in and messes up my system, so that, every few months, there is a Significant Book Disappearance.  I will pull out a stack of books to take back to the library, but somewhere between the stack-making and check in, a book disappears.  At first I'll think I just dropped it somewhere, but after a property-wide book-hunt, it will become clear that the book has vanished.  Aggravating!

photo by Alexis Kriticos

I've found when these things occur, there is no solution but to immediately commence supplication: "Hi God, it's me.  Yes, there's a book missing again, which I'm convinced is your way of reminding me that you are the source of everything that plays out easy in my life.  I am so grateful.  I ask that you order my steps, center my thoughts on you, and please help me find that library book."

And God always does.

I have never had to pay for a library book due to vanishment.  (I have, however, had to pay for ripped pages, scribbled on covers, and water damage due to being lost in the snow for 3 months until spring.)  For some reason, God always brings my library books back to me.  Once we were hunting all over the house and I was about to give up, so I gathered the kids for a quick "please help God" prayer, and then we scattered to search one more time.  Charlotte (about 2 years old at the time) wanted to be involved, so she walked over to a bookshelf and pulled out a book.  "Here book!" she chirped.  My jaw dropped.  It was the missing book.  Five minutes earlier, I had looked over that bookshelf for the twentieth time and found nothing.

Another time I found a page that had come out of a loose binding on a library book, but didn't know where the book was, so I put the page on my desk to keep it safe.  A week or so later I found the book and took it to my desk to reunite it with its page before returning it to the library.  The page was gone.  So I started my hunting and praying routine: "Hi God, it's about library books again.  I know you are speaking to me again.  Please help me find this paper, but help me relax and trust your mysterious workings . . ." I looked and looked for that silly page, which I knew I had placed right on the corner of my desk, so where could it possibly have gone?!  When the book came due, I waved the white flag and started loading the kids in the car for our weekly library trip.  I planned to drop of a bag of stuff at a friend's house along the way, so I grabbed that bag too, which just happened to be hanging out next to my desk.  As I placed the bag in the car, I glanced down.  There was the missing book page, tucked against the side of the bag.  I had to laugh at the timing.

photo by Илија Симевски

Most recently, I returned a stack of books to the library, and I thought the stack included a book about presidents.  The book, however did not come off my account, so I figured I missed it and started searching.  This was near the end of April.  As usual, we prayed and the kids and I hunted everywhere.  Every book in the house passed through my hands.  I even looked through the garage.  No book.  I asked the library to check their shelves, and then I checked them again a week later.  No book.  I gave up and went in to pay for the book.  The librarian asked kindly, "Have you really looked everywhere?"  You have no idea, lady.  She gave me one more renewal, and I left thinking, ok, maybe God will do something in the next three weeks, but I can't imagine any place the book could be.  We searched some more, to no avail.  I felt a nudge to go look at the library shelves again, so when I went in to pay for the missing book, I triple checked the shelves.  Lo and behold, there was the missing book.  I tried not to bounce as I carried the book up to the front desk to explain what had happened, on the last day of my loan period.

A person might write all this off as meaningless, coincidental, or even superstitious - and certainly we can spend too much time trying to read into every nuance of our lives.  Yet, for reasons I can't grasp, God seems to enjoy reminding me of his constant management of my life through the library books we borrow.  I am reminded that all things are under his careful ordering.  I am reminded to pray when I can't find what I'm looking for (far beyond a simple book).  I'm reminded that God is rarely early, never late, and knows exactly the timing that will impact our hearts the most.


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