It was a crisp, sunny day in Washington, D.C. when I left the conference.
Climbing into my rental car, map in hand, I was confident of my journey home.
It was a pre-GPS era back then, and I had received my directions before leaving the hotel from what I thought was a trusted source.
They were simple: a straight road and then I would see the entrance onto the highway that would take me home.
I began to notice that something wasn’t quite right when my straight road narrowed into a residential area with no highway entrance in site. I stopped and asked a mail carrier whose cryptic directions led me through an alleyway and on to some embassy office buildings. From there, I hailed a man and explained my plight. In a thick accent, he told me that he was not from the area and couldn’t help me.
My pulse quickened, and my heart thudded in my chest as I realized what was happening – I was lost! Panic set in for me, and a strange sense of hysteria accompanied it. I had no way of calling anyone and didn’t feel that returning to the hotel was an option. The hugeness of the city closed in on me. I parked on a curb and sobbed – certain I’d be lost forever.
That’s when my angel came.
He was tall and dark skinned and he wore brown coveralls that sported an embroidered public works logo. He came striding up to my half-opened window and asked if I needed help.
I’m sure he saw the tears in my eyes as I showed him my map.
“Oh, you’re looking for that entrance right over there,” he said pointing to a one-way highway entrance in view. “You’re allowed to use that during the day.” Relief flooded over me as I thanked the man and he left. I began to back out when I turned my head, wanting to see my rescuer one more time. He should have been just a few steps from my vehicle.
But he wasn’t … he was gone.
I love my angel story and I’ve told it time and again to friends and family throughout my life. It’s strange though, to think that angels are among us don’t you think? I mean, that’s pretty much “out there” isn’t it? But, when you look at scripture, you see that even God’s word says it’s so: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:2.
In the Bible, Abraham, Gideon, and Manoah (the father of Samson) all experienced visits from angels without realizing who they were.
Who are angels anyway? Some think that angels are people who have died and gone to heaven. That seems to be the image we get from cartoons on TV right? But a good look at scripture tells us that this isn’t so. The Bible actually says that angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” Hebrews 1:14. Wow! I’d say that’s a plus!
Angels throughout the Bible performed many different tasks like protecting and guiding God’s people and delivering them from danger. They also proclaimed God’s messages, executed judgment and worshipped God themselves.
I remember hearing Page’s story. I met her in a Bible study quite a few years back. As we all got to know her, Page began to open up and explain some of the things she had been through. She told us that she had had bone cancer and that, just before receiving a bone marrow transplant, she had “entertained” some angels in a restaurant.
She said that an older couple had approached her and began talking with her. In the course of their conversation, the older man, not really even knowing what Page was about to go through, said these words: “It’s not that bad.”
Page told us that later she realized that the man was referring to her transplant, and she knew then, that she was going to be all right.
Awhile ago, angels were the “in” thing and I think that, for some, our attention got a bit skewed. Angels are celestial beings higher than men but not higher than God. And we need to make sure that we’ve got a Christ-centered focus when it comes to them. It’s good though, to know that they are around and it’s a good reason to be kind to strangers because, well, you never know…
Psalm 34:7 (New International Version) The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Daniel 6:22 (New Living Translation)
My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. …
Psalm 91:11-12 (Amplified Bible) For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
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