“Do not let anyone who delights in false humility in the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head* from whom the whole body is supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.”
Colossians 2:18-19 (N.I.V.) *Head refers to Christ.
Several years ago now “angels” became a “hot commodity” both in the Christian world and the secular. Everyone, it seemed, was collecting and making gifts of angels. You could then and can now, buy just about every product from band-aids to lampshades to Bibles with angels on them, or shaped like angels. My problem with the “angel phenomenon” was that to me people stopped seeing the reason and source of the angels that the Bible spoke of as being about and of God. The angels were being idolized. Not their proper place in the lives of believers in the One True God. Plus many of the items being marketed as angels bore a striking resemblance to fairies which are completely mythical creatures.
The Bible speaks often to us about angels and their role in our lives. The angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus. (Luke 1:26-38) Jacob dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway from earth to heaven. (Genesis 28:10-18) The Children of Israel were promised an angel to guard them along their way to Canaan. (Exodus 23:20-21) And the list goes on. Even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14).
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Hebrews 13:2 (N.I.V.)
I’ve encountered three angels that I am aware of in my life.
The first was over 15 years ago when I served on the church staff at a church in Norfolk, Virginia. I was alone at the church when a man knocked on the office door. This was not uncommon, the church had its share of salesmen and we operated a food pantry also that attracted people to our door during the week. I opened the door and as the man came in he asked for a bag of food. I left him standing in the hallway as I went to get the food for him and upon my return he had been reading a bulletin board in the hallway announcing our new church year kick-off later in the month. One I had just finished earlier in the day. Taking my cue I invited him to attend but he politely declined. I handed him his bag and he turned to go. He paused, with his hand on the doorknob and looked back at me with a steady gaze and said, “It’s too late you know.”
“Too late for what?” I replied. “It’s never too late as long as we have hope in God.”
“What you’re trying to do. It’s too late. Their decision was made years ago when they left downtown.” With those words he left.
I called to him and went immediately to the door to look out and see if I could get him to continue the conversation but to my amazement he was nowhere to be found. I hurried diagonally across the church yard so I could see both the parking lot and both driveways so when he drove away I could flag him down. No one was there. I walked to the driveways, no cars, and no people. I watched the driveways and parking lot for half-an-hour. No one was there.
Who was he? I didn’t have a name. I did know what he was and who sent him.
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7 (N.I.V.)
The first major surgery of my life occurred in January of 2004. Things did not go as well as planned and I woke up on a ventilator. If you’ve never had that experience, trust me, it isn’t a comfortable one or one I would suggest you seek. To my horror I was unable to communicate except by attempting to write on paper I couldn’t see with a hand unable to be flexible due to the IV’s and pulseox. Furthermore, I constantly felt as if I were gagging or drowning as fluid collected in my mouth and around the ventilator tube.
Early one morning, just before shift change, I began coughing and suddenly breathing was no longer an option! The nurse rushed into the room, obviously exhausted and quite tired of having to vacuum the water out of my mouth, and in no mood to deal with a “hysterical patient”. In her irritation she refused to allow me to write or to notice that I was truly struggling to get air. My vision was blacking out on the edges and I could no longer see the nurses face as she stood over me.
Just then into my still blackening vision a woman in a lab coat walked in, picked up my chart off the foot of my bed and calmly told the nurse, “She’s coughed the tube out, she can’t breathe.” And she walked back out.
After the nurse realized the woman had been right and the issue had been dealt with (thankfully they removed the tube and I was able to breathe well enough on my own it was not necessary to reinsert it) the nurse looked at me sheepishly and asked who my new doctor was, referring to the woman who had entered the room and saved my life. Hoarsely I whispered, “I don’t know.”
I never saw that doctor again. And the nurse remarked to me on the next shift she worked and I was still there that she’d hadn’t seen her again either nor did any of the other nurses know who she was or where she came from. I did.
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
Matthew 18:10 (N.I.V.)
My last encounter with an angel occurred recently following a severe thunderstorm. My daughter and I arrived at home and I hit the garage door opener and nothing happened. It took me a few button pushes to realize the power was out. No power and no automatic door opener. Not that much of an issue for someone who is able bodied enough to get out of the car and manually open the door or if you’re not less than four foot tall. With my one leg and at my daughter’s height we had a problem.
My husband was still a few hours away from home. My closest relative was away on vacation and my second closest was working an ambulance call. I called a friend from church who promised to be over as soon as he could but meanwhile Mother Nature was making a personal call for me and I realized we were in trouble. I couldn’t get into our house without going through the garage.
It was at that time a young man in a blue windbreaker, work boots and a red cap knocked on my car window. He asked me if I needed help and I admitted I did but that I had already called a friend. He said, “No let me help. Give me your keys.”
I did and he opened the garage side door, manually opened the garage door and came back to the car to hand me the keys. Once I was parked he closed the door from inside and disappeared out the side before I could thank him. I sent my daughter to the door to catch him. No one was there.
All the time I had presumed he was our neighbor whom I had not met but who my daughter and husband had. Once inside I told our daughter to remind me to tell Daddy that “Mr. Scott helped us out.” It was then I discovered the man was not our neighbor.
Some may say that neither of these situations were angelic encounters. I can understand one’s doubt. But, I stand firm. God had sent me angels, right when I needed them the most.
Have you had an angelic encounter? Tell me about it, I’d love to hear!