When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
– 2 Kings 6:15-17
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
– Luke 22:39-44
“The Bible is filled with stories about angels, but many of us have had our view of angels confused by popular misconceptions about them, the principal of which is that angels do not actually exist any more than fairies do, or wood nymphs or water sprites. But they do exist and the Bible attests to their existence innumerable times.
The word ‘angel’ is simply the New Testament Greek word meaning ‘messenger,’ so angels are powerful celestial beings created by God to carry his messages and to otherwise do his bidding.”
– Eric Metaxas, Miracles
Eric Metaxas did not exaggerate regarding angels in the Bible. The word ‘angel’ appears 290 times in the NIV. Metaxas follows his introduction on the subject with three cases where angels have appeared to people that Mr. Metaxas knew.
Rather than speak of those stories, I would like to tell of three stories that I have heard from people that I knew.
In one case, I was teaching the Video College of Biblical Knowledge (my Sunday school class in Pennsylvania). The video about miracles had a story about a young child that nearly drowned in a pond behind the family home. The boy was rescued and brought to the house. When the child was out of danger, the stranger that had saved the boy simply wasn’t there anymore. The parents were convinced the stranger that saved their child was an angel. I can remember the particular story out of a video with multiple stories, because the father telling the story was the son or grandson of the mayor of my hometown back in Mississippi when I was growing up.
In another case, we went to a church in Augusta, GA for several years. The new preacher talked about where he was in Florida (Ocala) when the Challenger explosion occurred. He was stranded on the side of the road outside town when he saw the smoke trail. His car was broken down. Someone came to pick him up. The stranger stayed with him to comfort him. When he finally got his car to the gas station, he saw the person who helped him at the next pump. He fished into his wallet to offer the man a reward, but when he looked up, neither the man nor the man’s car was there anymore. He had heard no car crank or any car drive away. He had only diverted his eyes for about ten seconds. He knew it had to have been an angel.
Another friend was at a convention when he had a massive heart attack. He felt it was miraculous that people were immediately at his side who knew what to do and had an AED in hand. He beat the odds by having such a massive heart attack and making it to the hospital according to the doctors there, but there was no one that could do the life-saving surgery there. He again felt that it was miraculous that he recovered and strengthened enough to be flown to the nearest hospital with a surgeon who had done that surgery before. These all may have been miracles of healing, but during his recovery he had the best of care as he drifted in and out of consciousness. When he was finally able to go home, he told his wife to be sure to thank the black man that came in to be his nurse from time to time. He especially liked that guy. The nurse that was with him overheard the conversation. She said that there were no male nurses on the floor and no black nurses had been to his room. But my friend was insistent. He told the nurse that the guy was over six feet tall and his uniform had red with gold trim. The nurse said that there were no nurses of that description anywhere in the hospital and no nurse wore anything red with gold trim. That’s when my friend remembered that when the black nurse was present, he felt calmer and warmer than when anyone else was tending to his needs. It had to be an angel.
The last friend also said that the angel could communicate without speaking. They could simply have thoughts that they shared. I have talked to others that said the same thing about the angels that they have met.
Are there angels among us? Yes, there are. I may or may not have seen any, but in the story from 2 Kings 6, Elisha knew they were there. It took Elisha praying for God to open his servant’s eyes for the servant to know. Would it be great to see how many angels are looking over me right now? Yes, it would be an experience that I would have difficulty in describing, but I don’t need to see them to know that they are there. I will see them some day.
As for the last friend above, he had an angel nursing him back to health. After Jesus spent the 40 days in the wilderness, being tempted by the Devil, angels tended Him. In the Scripture above between Jesus’ prayer and Judas’ betrayal, angels again tended to Jesus. Angels will tend to us, when needed. As Metaxas wrote, they are messengers, but they also perform other duties as God requires them to be done.
Have you seen an angel? Could it have been the homeless man that you helped today? God presents His messages to us in many different ways. Don’t expect your angel to look like ‘an angel.’ Reading the Bible is very important to learn God’s message, but you never know when God will send one of His messengers to you.
It might just be at a time when you need a miracle.