One of the many references from the library I had been consulting since 2010 when starting my end-times handbook for the church was a book on the Napoleonic war.  Because of its many and valuable insights, this became a firm favourite and I annotated it with pencil references intending eventually to erase them.  For two years I kept on renewing the book so it never found its way back on the shelves.  One day, probably during 2012, a pang of conscience struck.  I had completed the section of the manual for which it had been borrowed, so decided I really had to hand it back.  That was hard, as by that time it had become a favourite reference.

During early 2013 I began a revision of the earlier chapters of the manual and was looking for the book in the library shelves.  But it had vanished.  No, sorry, we had no record of it.  Perhaps it’s been sold with other retired books or returned to another branch.  Around October I thought of purchasing a replacement from Amazon (though it would not have had the valuable Wilson additives, which I had forgotten to erase) but somehow the order didn’t get placed.

On Wednesday 30 October I was renewing my books.  It was very late in the afternoon and the library was closing.  On the way out I passed by a trolley of ‘sale’ books against the wall of the narrow corridor.  I scanned the titles I could see (difficult, because the lights were being switched off) for any worthwhile acquisitions.  Nothing.  Should I bother to turn the trolley round to view the other books on the other side?  It was heavy and awkward, but might as well.  Scanning the rows of titles down almost to the bottom shelf . . . nothing.  But then, about to move the trolley back against the wall, a familiar title and cover caught my eye.  I simply stood and stared.  Must be dreaming.  With much struggle I pulled the trolley further out from the wall to extract the book.  Can’t tell you my feelings as I turned the familiar pages.  Then, even more astonishment.  On the pages were the familiar pencil marks, my pencil marks that (unintentionally) I had not erased before returning it all that time ago.  In some way I could not fathom, this same book that I had treasured for years had somehow made its way back to await me; and at about one-fifth of the price.  Fiction-writers talk of eye-rubbing and tall orders.  But this was for real.

Thank you, Father, you are truly amazing.  Out of all the miracles I have seen this is one at the top of the bill.  I still can’t get over its reappearance.  Truly, my God can do anything.