It was a windy-cold, late, dark night.
It had been a long day, revolving around the death of our dear nephew.
We’d driven two hours to be with family; now we were almost home but because of a flat tire, we were stranded on the shoulder of a pulsing, vibrating, deafening highway.
I was holding out my phone-light while Jake fought hard to get the tire off the rusted bolts.
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I have a little wooden box that holds small, significant souvenirs. Things like the cracked candle from our wedding. A miniature handwoven Bolivian basket. A real silver mini-treasure chest that holds a love note from Jake. My teeny-tiny seashells collection. An Ethiopian cross.
And: a pile of faded pink post-it notes that a daughter stuck around the house before she moved out: “Thank you for teaching me how to pray.” “Thank you for piano classes and tunings.” “Thank you for encouraging me to exercise.” “Thank you for the meals you have made for me. According to my calculations, you have made me over 19,710 meals!” etc.
But there are also serious souvenirs in my box. A metal key with the bottom scorched black that tells the story about that same aforementioned daughter. When she was a curious toddler, she climbed up on my desk and stuck that key in a 220 current socket. The electricity popped – I heard it from another room – the key melted but she was unharmed.
Another solemn one is a small plastic bag with a tablespoon of tiny protective glass shards that I collected off the floor of a truck Jake had been driving. A donkey caused an accident that shattered the window behind Jake’s head. He wasn’t even cut.
Last week, I put a thick three-inch bolt in the box — the one the tire repairman pulled out of our tire. I want to remember God’s protection that night.
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Recently I have been thinking about how little I think about angels.
Angels are mentioned a lot in the Bible: God’s messengers, God’s ministers, God’s agents, God’s ambassadors.
God sends his angels to protect us, to guide us, to help us and to sustain us.
‘Sustain.’ There is much in that word. It means to support, bear up, carry, shore up, keep from falling, underpin, comfort, assist, encourage, and cheer up.
Also, it can mean to validate, nourish, nurture, provide for, and preserve.
The Sovereign LORD has given me . . . the word that sustains the weary. Is. 50:4
. . . sustaining all things by his powerful word. Heb 1:3
The Lord is the one who sustains me. Ps 54:4
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you. Ps 55:22
For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness. . . Nehemiah 9:2
Not only this past wilderness/COVID year, but my whole life, God has faithfully sustained me. How many times did He use an angel? I wonder.
Angels, visible and invisible, may have a part in all of my stories. I just don’t recognize them. They don’t leave post-it notes.
I’m pretty sure angels were protecting and sustaining us that dark, cold night on the highway. And in many other dark, cold night situations.
Angels protected our little daughter that day. And on many other days.
They kept Jake safe in that accident with the donkey. And on many other dangerous roads his whole life.
And I believe angels accompanied my nephew to his eternal home, as they will me when it’s my turn to die. (See Luke 16:22)
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Today is my birthday. Not a day to think about death. But to think about angels, yes.
I am turning 69. Wow. That’s a lot of days of God’s protection and sustenance.
That’s probably a lot of angels.
Jake and I have made the goal of walking to 70 waterfalls this next year.
And I want to add to that goal: be on the lookout for angels.