by Nancy H.
It had been a Christmas gift from my husband back in 1986, and had been particularly meaningful to me since his death. Not just because Rich had been the giver, but beyond that, I had many underlined passages of scripture and short notes in my beloved Bible. The back was a treasury of quotes from my pastor and several other Christian leaders. Occasionally, I was refreshed just by reading the inspiring words written there.
So when I accidentally left it behind after visiting a local church with several thousand members on Mother’s Day in 2013, I had a very uneasy feeling. After arriving home from a morning of worship with my son, Tony, and his family, I realized I had left my Bible in the restroom.
Although I was concerned about having left my Bible, I tried to reason with myself. Someone will turn it in. I’ll call the church tomorrow morning and go and pick it up.
The next day I drove to the church to inquire.
This particular church is so big that it has a room for lost and found. I was directed there and found many unclaimed Bibles.
Mine was not one of them.
I left a detailed description–blue leather Bible with my name inscribed on the cover–and my contact info with a friendly lady at the help desk. She expressed her concern and let me know they would contact me if it was found.
Months went by. My brother-in-law, who assists weekly in organizing hymnals, visitor cards, and other items throughout the sanctuary of this sprawling church, added regularly checking the lost and found to his duties.
In the meantime, I pretty much lost hope of ever seeing my Bible again. One day I told him to quit checking. It had been too long, and I had learned that lost and found items were given away after a certain length of time if they weren’t claimed. Perhaps my Bible had been given away by mistake.
One day I shared this story with my hairdresser and friend, Michel, and she shared a similar story. She told me of how she had once lost her treasured Bible and prayed that whoever found it would be blessed, and even come to know the Lord. Eventually, her Bible was returned to her.
My prayers should have been like hers. Instead, they were more like…
Lord, you know where my Bible is. Would you please get it back to me? There is no one in the world that this Bible means more to than me. Thank you, Lord.
Dear Lord, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to get this Bible back. I’m not sure this is possible, but I’d love to see it again when I get to Heaven. Thank you. Amen.
If these prayers sound childlike to you, it’s because they were.
Perhaps this is why I enjoy working with 2-4 year olds in Sunday school. I relate to them well.
Errol and Teresa work alongside me with these children. In February of 2015, Errol and his daughter, Amanda, were in a terrible car accident that left Errol with broken ribs and bruises and Amanda in critical condition. I visited Errol and Teresa shortly after the accident. Though they were heartbroken for Amanda, their faith was strong.
“We just don’t know what God has in store for Amanda,” I recall Teresa telling Errol. “We have to trust Him for the outcome.”
I was touched by this couple’s reliance on the Lord during this difficult time. And I was reminded of the words found in Psalm 32:8:
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
After visiting Teresa and Errol, I arrived home that afternoon to an email from the church where I had last held my Bible. I could hardly believe what I read:
We have found a blue Bible with your name on it in our lost and found room… Please let me know if you will be able to pick it up.
I responded immediately, and later was able to speak with the woman who sent the email. I told her that my brother-in-law attended her church. She knew him, and we arranged to have him pick up my treasured Bible.
I was overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving when the Bible was returned to me. I could hardly believe I was holding it after almost two years. The cover showed evidence of it having been left out in the sun, but everything inside was intact.
When the woman in Luke 15 found her lost coin, she called her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her. I did the same, immediately calling family and friends.
After sharing the news with my daughter, Dawn, she said something that made me even more thankful. She said that it wasn’t an accident that I got the Bible back when I did. She noted that it was just two days before the anniversary of Rich’s death. On so many levels, I felt like I was getting hugs from Heaven.
The faith of others strengthens mine. I appreciate the selfless prayer of my hairdresser. I’m amazed that my brother-in-law kept checking the lost and found for several months. I’m touched by the trust Amanda’s family has that she is in God’s hands. (Thanks be to God; Amanda is out of the hospital and improving daily!) I’m delighted that my daughter recognized that God was responsible for getting my Bible back, and that His timing is perfect.
As to where my Bible was for so long, that will remain a mystery. It amazes me that out of this church of thousands, and after almost two years, God orchestrated what needed to take place to get my Bible returned to me.
As I lay in bed that night, I was overwhelmed by God’s grace and how He cares for the things that are meaningful to His children. I felt His hug, and I thanked Jesus for his love for me.
Nancy has attended East Cobb Presbyterian Church for thirty years. Before moving to the Atlanta area, she and her late husband, Rich, lived in many states due to his military and aviation background. She is blessed to have her three grown children and four grandchildren living nearby. After retiring from teaching at East Cobb Christian School after 22 years, Nancy continues to mentor there. She has led Bible studies in her neighborhood and has led a Home Fellowship Community for several years. She enjoys being with family, friends, and neighbors and is energized by teaching the 2-3 year olds in Sunday School.