I remember the Sunday School of my youth and Bible stories told with the use of a flannel gram. The teacher had paper images, much like paper dolls, and she would move them around on a board covered with flannel to illustrate the stories. I can’t tell you how much I loved the stories, and because I’m such a visual learner, I think that is in good part why I still remember them so well today.
I particularly remember the story of God leading the Israelites out of Egypt. They didn’t know where they were going which would be enough to give you serious doubts. Being a small child and not understanding how difficult that would be, I still recognized that they were a super whiny group of people. To come to their aid, God led them with a pillar of clouds by day and a column of fire by night.
When they were without food, God sent manna, or bread, from the heavens. When they were thirsty, water flowed from the rock. A rock! And then, seemingly 10 minutes later, they started whining and complaining about something else, having forgotten how God supplied their needs.
I have always wondered how a person can witness miracle after a miracle and then turn around and forget time and time again.
And then this type of forgetfulness came a little closer to home. A few days ago a friend of mine asked “Do you believe in angels?”
I thought for a moment, and answered honestly, “I don’t know.”
“You either do or you don’t. It’s not a trick question.“ she said.
I guess the question itself triggered the image we see in the commercialized version of them: white robes and wings on their back and that just isn’t something I can wrap my head around.
But then my friend told me her story. Years ago, prior to GPS and cell phones, she was looking for an address. She told me that she had just moved to Charlotte as a home healthcare physical therapist, and she was sent to an address to assess a patient.
It was dark, and she was lost in a seriously bad part of town. As she was getting out of her car, a young man in a white dress shirt approached her and asked why she was there. He told her to leave; it was not safe.
After she explained that it was her job and she couldn’t leave, he showed her where his car was, and said he would wait for her for an hour. If she felt unsafe, she should run out.
An hour later as she emerged from the building, he got out of his car to make sure she was OK. He told her she should never come back here; he told her again it wasn’t safe.
He instructed her to get in her car and follow him out of the neighborhood. He turned left at the stop sign. She pulled up behind him and stopped as well. When she made the left-hand turn a second later, he was gone. When I asked why he had been in a place so obviously dangerous, she said all he told her he was the” insurance man.” Had he been her insurance?
Over the next day or so I thought about her story. I started to remember something I had written earlier about angels.
When I started looking for it, I realized I have written several blogs about encounters with people who had to have been angels. Not angels in white robes, and not people that we call Angel in place of Dear or Honey but honest to goodness angels. How could I have forgotten?
I finally found the quote I was looking for from After Life,
There are angels by the way. They don’t have wings and live in clouds. They wear nurses uniforms and work hard to pay the rent on their houses. Some work for charities because they can’t look the other way. Some have four legs and bark. But whatever they look like, they all save lives. If you want to be an angel, you’ve got to do it when you’re alive. Be good. Do good things.
So, yes, I do believe in angels. I’ve heard stories from others and I’ve experienced encounters of my own but then like the Israelites, I forget. Maybe I was a little harsh on them after all.