Abraham, Lot, Gideon, Samson’s mum and pop. You. Me.
(and more than likely a whole gajillion others.)
What’s the common thread?
From Genesis to Judges there are stories in the Bible of men and women interacting with angels, completely unaware that they were angels indeed.
One of the most confusing, enlightening, and difficult classes I took in college was “Angelology and Anthropology” … so much folk religion had been wrapped around angels of the Hallmark and Lifetime movie variety, that I’d spent my adult life full-on ignoring any theology that had to do with them.
That class caught my attention and shone much needed light into a corner of God’s design and creation that I was ignoring out of ignorance.
I think that I have genuinely had two experiences with angels sent from God. When I was a child, we were in a very scary car accident in the snow. Before the age of cell phones and AAA, my mama had two little babes in below freezing temps, and the snow and ice was impacted around the doors of our flipped car, giving us no escape. We were on a backroad of our little Illinois town that nearly no one used, certainly no one would during an unexpected winter maelstrom. And whaddyaknow a man in a candy truck (of all things!) saw us and rescued us.
Fourteen years later, I was in my first car accident as a teenage driver – in the rain. In my dad’s car. On the way to our local Dairy Queen where all of my high school buddies worked. In the smack-dab-dead-center of an incredibly busy intersection. Standing in the pouring rain, by myself, scared to pieces at how angry my parents would be, unsure of how to speak to a police officer or what to say – an older woman appeared out of nowhere on the cement median next to me and offered me her umbrella and a kind word. I hesitantly reached for it and I swear she disappeared.
Those are the kind of stories that we don’t share with other people, because they make us sound a little looney. But if God sent angels on His behalf before – He could surely do it again.
Granted, what we have now that the men and women of the Old Testament did not, is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit as comforter and so much more! But where I might have rolled my eyes before if you told me about a “supernatural” experience … now I might be uncomfortable, but am more open to the possibility.
Add it to the hundred yard long list of questions I have for God! What do angels do these days? Are they all singers? Spending the glistening eternity worshipping? Are some still battling it out before Judgement Day with our enemy? And do any interact with us in tangible ways?
In Hebrews it says:
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
What I like about this passage is also the wink in our direction. The grin of the Lord reminding us to be kind to everyone. Because, in His goodness, He also desires to use His kids for His other kids!
While we aren’t angels, we can certainly show love, kindness, and yes – hospitality that, to the heart of that stranger, certainly feels heavenly!
This past week or two I’ve had a woman pray over me with words only God could’ve written, the phone ring in my hand while I was wiping tears away – with a loving voice on the other end who ‘just happened’ to call at the right moment, a song with words specifically matching the prayer I was praying for a best friend pop on the radio as I was praying for her (gave me goosebumps!) And a few nights ago, well…
It had been an incredibly rough day. There was nothing I wanted to do less than put on fancy clothes and go to my second job. As I slung my purse over my shoulder and walked the hallway to punch-in on the timeclock, I uttered a quick quiet prayer “Lord, please help me to be a really intentional blessing to someone tonight, and, if you don’t mind, could you send some sort of blessing my way? I could really use a bit of love today.”
And in the hustle and busy of the next few hours, nothing miraculous or magnificent happened. There were sweet moments of hugs and laughter as is always the case around the beauties I am thankful to work with, but nothing seemed like a specific answer to that prayer. Which, ehhh, was fine. We’ve all learned how to operate without specific answers to specific prayers at a specific time – amiright?
And a tad bit before we closed the doors and went home, I breezed by a man with long hair and latte-colored glasses. His wife, in her perfect ivory felt hat and vintage purse, stood sweetly smiling nearby. I tossed out a “How ya doing?” and I was completely caught off guard by his response.
He put down what was in his hand and looked right at me “I’m really good. How are you?”
It was the warmth in his tone and the sincerity in his wanting-to-know that I wasn’t ready for. Not easily flummoxed I said somethingorother and kept walking.
Later they asked me what scent of candle was burning and I went to investigate if it was the pumpkin or spiced cider, and somehow we ended up talking about Jesus. I couldn’t recount the sentences that got us there if I tried, but somehow, they shared with me that their life’s mission was to see in others God’s original fingerprint of goodness in each soul He Himself created. They were deeply vested in a small home church. He’d written a ‘cowboy worship’ album. She’d drawn the cover art. We talked about the truly great worship lyricists. ((Here’s looking at you beautiful Sara Groves and Brooke Fraser, and Foy Vance even though you kick and scream against Christianity.))
We laughed and shared mutual bits of encouragement, sending the other off with music to look up and a hearty “nice to meet you!”
That felt like the blessing I’d asked God for. Didn’t need a drop more. Was rosy-cheeked with thankful.
In the middle of hanging a beautiful blouse on a hanger I heard someone say my name – the cowboy himself had come back to gift me with the album he’d written about the abundant and sweet love of Jesus.
I turned up the volume on the drive home and tears dripped through my smile creases to fall off my chin – his first song “I Do Not Regret You” had pan flutes and hand claps and these words fluttering through my Chevy’s speakers …
“THERE’S A KING IN MY DREAMS AND HE’S HEARD ALL MY SCREAMS AND HE SINGS: ‘YOU ARE ALIVE, YOU ARE MY LIFE.’
OH THIS KING IN MY DREAMS GATHERS ME ‘NEATH HIS WINGS AND HE SINGS:
I DO NOT REGRET YOU, AND I WILL NOT FORGET YOU.”
He did not forget me.
And I think I maybe, just might have “entertained angels, unaware.”