Have you ever experienced the presence of an angel?
A number of years ago, after being with some business colleagues at a dinner on the upper west side of Manhattan, I started back to my hotel. Because of the lateness of the hour, there were no cabs readily available so I started walking on Central Park West toward my hotel. There was hardly anybody on the street and after walking a couple of blocks, I noticed a gang of five young men following about a block behind me.
As I picked up my pace, so did they. I began to get concerned. If I started to run, there was no place to run to. All the shops and restaurants in the area were closed. They got closer and closer, obviously intent on catching up with me. Just then out of nowhere, a taxi came roaring up with the driver yelling at me to get in, which I did as he sped away. On the way to the hotel, he hardly said a thing. Upon arrival, I thanked him profusely and watched him drive away.
Was he just a benevolent New York City taxi driver who happened along on Central Park West late that evening and came to my rescue? Given the circumstances and the quickness with which he appeared, I have always believed he was one of God’s angels assigned to look after believers.
The Bible is full of references to angels in both the Old and New Testaments. Psalm 91 says, “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in your ways.” Psalm 34 says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” An Angel held the arm of Abraham preventing the sacrifice of Isaac, wrestled with Jacob, and appeared to Moses in the burning bush. An angel protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the flames of the furnace.
Angels appeared to Zachariah, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds in connection with the coming and birth of Jesus. Angels told all who came to Jesus’ tomb that he had been raised from the dead. An angel freed Peter from prison, and assured Paul that he and all those on board his ship would be saved from a shipwreck the next day. Finally, an angel described to John what the new heaven and new earth would look like at the end of the Book of Revelations.
Paul describes angels as “ministering spirits, sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.” (Heb. 1:14) In describing the preeminence of Christ, Paul declares, “For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible.” (Col. 1:16) Angels are part of the invisible.
The soul or inner person of an individual cannot be seen. Yet, the actions of an individual reflect the nature of the soul. So too, with angels. Though they cannot be seen, their actions can be manifested in the results of their protection and the messages they convey.
Just as we embrace on faith the words and events of Jesus’ life, including his resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so too, should we embrace on faith the action of angels in our lives.