"Let's see, what am I grateful for that begins with the letter A?"
The exercise worked. My problem took wings and flew away! So begins my alphabetical list of things for which I am grateful...
is for Angels.
My first conscious encounter with angels happened when I was about 20 years old. I say 'conscious' because I have learned that angels work quietly among us everyday--and in ways that we often miss. They are everywhere. And for every bad thing that comes our way, for every horrible, misfortunate, tragic event that happens in this world; angels have prevented 10,000 more.
I was about 20 years old at the time. Johnny, my oldest child was a toddler, and Sammy was just a baby. We only had one car back in those days, and my husband needed it for work; so I was pretty much stuck at home every day. Mr. Hinton, a kindly old gentleman from the church offered to drive me to and from Tuesday morning Bible studies. I accepted, grateful for a chance to get out, in spite of the fact that the old fellow was an awful driver.
Seating arrangements in cars were a lot different in those days. Mothers commonly drove with their babies lying in little cheaply molded 'infant carriers' next to them on the front seat. Older cars often didn't even have seatbelts, and if you did have them, you usually didn't use them. I tell you this so you won't think me horrible when I say that when we pulled into the driveway after Bible study tht day I was in the front seat holding baby Sam, and Johnny was in the back seat behind Mr. Hinton.
I had just slid out of the front seat of the car and was headed toward the back to get Johnny when I saw that he had somehow gotten out by himself and was standing directly behind the car...and Mr. Hinton must have forgotten all about Johnny, because he was backing up! My sweet little boy was about to be crushed. I had absolutely no chance of getting to him in time! I started to yell. Then, at that same instant, that exact same instant...without a millisecond of time passage...Johnny was standing on the front porch--some twenty feet from the driveway!
Mr. Hinton stopped suddenly, rolled down his window and hollered, "An angel just put Johnny on the porch!"
Then he drove away. (I think that was our last ride with Mr. H.!)
Angels are not limited by time, space, or distance. Johnny was behind the car, then he was on the porch. No time passed between these two 'events.'
Many years later I was going through a rocky time with my teenage daughter. Her dad and I had divorced, and she decided to go and live with him. I was heartsick and worried. Her dad was at the time, living in a travel trailer at a beach resort nearby. I knew he loved her and would take good care of her, but it was painful to let go. And I was concerned about the trailer. Was it safe?
A few nights before she moved out I had a dream. There was a travel trailer in a mobile park with two men walking around it. The men were very tall...over 7 feet, I'd say. One was Asian looking. The other was very fair and blonde. Their faces were glowing. They seemed to be inspecting the trailer. They were opening all of the compartments...looking at hoses, pilot lights, the roof, etc. Around and around it they walked. It was clear to me that these were not men, but angels. My daughter's angels. And they were making sure she'd be safe. (When I later visited the place, it was exactly as I'd seen in the dream.)
Later that week I was standing in my living room when I heard something on the stairway. I turned, and there they were! The same two angels were standing on the stairs. Their faces were radiating light. They were tall, strong, and athletically built, and they were dressed in white. No wings that I could see. Then they were gone. (And for those of you struggling with teenager problems, take heart; I am happy to report that my daughter and I safely negotiated our troubled waters and are now the very best of friends! She is absolutely amazing!)
Another time I was wakened in the middle of the night by a swooshing sound coming from the upstairs of our split-level home.
"Lord, what is it?" I asked in alarm.
Instantly I was standing in the middle of my living room. It was filled with angels. Large, small, winged, non-winged. Some had swords. They seemed oblivious to me and they were all moving about with great agitation. (The sound I'd heard was the flapping of wings.)
"What are they doing?" I asked.
"What are they battling?"
"Everything you are battling."
Then I was back in bed.
So... experientially speaking, here's what I know about angels. Everybody has some assigned to them. (I say 'some' because I know my daughter has at least two.) They are actively participating in our behalf but on a spiritual plane. Sometimes however, they do manifest in our natural, time-restricted realm. (Personally, I don't think there is anything magical or airy-fairy about this. From a physics perspective, I believe that they are simply operating beyond the speed of light. This would explain why we usually cannot see them.) Some look like people; beautiful, beautiful people. Some are winged. Some do not appear to be. They can be as small as a toddler, or very, very large.
Biblically speaking, we learn that angels are created beings...not human. They are highly powerful have many functions; including helping people, delivering messages, carrying out God's decrees, worshipping, and doing spiritual battle. They are not supposed to be objects of worship and adoration. It was not at all uncommon for people in Bible times to see angels, and we are told that often people entertain angels 'unawares.'
I am ever-so-grateful for these very real, very wonderful, very powerful, and somewhat mysterious beings called angels, and the work they do here on earth.
So tell me...what are YOU grateful for that begins with the letter "A"? (And I'd love to hear your 'angel story'!)