Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews1:14 (NIV)
Most of us do not think much about angels, much less look for their presence in our lives. But that does not mean that they are not looking for us and actively engaged in helping us. Contrary to some caricatures, they are not rosy cherubs floating on clouds carrying harps. They are servants of God, indued with His power and authority and sent to earth to serve His people and His purposes.
Although in some cases they appear as angels, frequently they take on human form. In the Bible we read of the appearances in person of majestic angels like Gabriel. (Luke 1) Those kind of angelic visitations are unmistakable and awe inspiring. Modern day accounts from those whom have had the privilege of seeing angels in person confirm this. But most of the time angels travel incognito, posing as human beings, and unless the Lord reveals their identity to us we are unaware of their presence. God clues us in to this in the book of Hebrews. We are told that some strangers who come into our lives may actually be angels. (Hebrews 13:2) Imagine having an encounter with an angel and not realizing it until afterward. There were people in the Bible, like Lot, who had that experience. He met two men in the public square, offered them shelter for the night and they turned out to be two angels sent by God to rescue him and his family before the destruction of Sodom. (Genesis 19)
Last week was a flurry of activity for my wife and I and our extended family. We all were involved to some degree in preparing for the big Saturday departure of our daughter Annie for a two year teaching commitment in Turkey. Such partings are always fraught with emotion, last “good” good-byes and prayers for protection.
Our other two daughters, Sarah and Carrie, took Annie out for a farewell luncheon on Thursday. All three have traveled extensively. Over lunch, as they compared travel notes, they discovered each of them had an angel story to tell. All three of them shared how a stranger had come into their lives at a critical time of need in their travels.
Sarah shared how she found herself late one night, having just arrived in Sidney, Australia, looking for the hostel where she had a reservation. The taxi let her out and as she was wandering along looking for the youth hostel she found herself in a very seedy part of town. She finally went into a small hotel and was met right inside the door by a man who asked if she was “Sarah.” “How did he know my name?” she wondered. Amazed, she said “Yes.” “Follow me” he said and proceeded to lead her out of that hotel, through the darkened streets and alleys. He brought her to an idyllic little bed and breakfast type place where they had a reservation for her. It surprised her because it was not the hostel where she made her initial reservation. Upon their arrival there, the man disappeared and she never saw him again. To her, he could only have been an angel.
Carrie shared how she and her husband Benji were in transit from Nepal to India when their flight departure was delayed. When they finally arrived in Delhi in hopes of catching their connecting flight to their final destination in India they were told it was impossible for them to board that flight. The plane was located at a distant concourse and in fact was already boarded and ready to pull away from the gate. There were a number of other passengers with them who were also booked on that flight. Just then a woman they had never seen, came up to them through the crowd with their boarding passes. She asked, “Are you Carrie and Benji?” Flabbergasted they said “Yes.” She told them to follow her without delay. She proceeded to whisk them past lines, through security check points and crowds of people directly to their gate. Amazingly the door of the plane was just being prepared for closure as they boarded. No one else from their other fight made it. Who was that woman? She had to be an angel. You see Carrie’s passport did not carry her married name because they had been wed just weeks earlier. There is no way anyone would have known that “Carrie and Benji” went together, let alone picked them out in a crowd.
Annie had a travel angel story to share as well. She was all alone in a big city trying to catch a ride to an early morning flight. She had arranged for ride with a cab company, but the cab never came. Standing outside in the dark, with a dead cell phone she began to panic. Just then a white limousine pulled up. A man stepped out of the car and asked if she was Anne Stuart. He had a very friendly and comforting demeanor. He told her that he was there to take her to the airport and even knew her flight number. She was aghast. He was not with the cab company she had contacted. He delivered her safely to the airport, on time and in luxury. And to top it off, he refused her payment for the ride. Now was that an angel or what?
When Annie recounted these three stories to Susan and me, we were both overwhelmed by God’s gracious angelic visitations in their lives. But most importantly, we were encouraged, along with them, that He would continue to do the same for Annie as she embarked on her new adventure.
Do you have any angel stories to tell?
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