Angels Unaware–or–Aware – Part I
Have you ever met an angel? What is an angel? The English word angel comes from the Greek ang´el-os, which means, messenger, or one who brings tidings.
I’ll be telling a couple of angel stories today, one is my Mom’s encounter with an angel, one is mine. Both of our encounters are with angels who appeared in human form. I have never seen with my natural eyes angels in their spiritual or glorified form, but I have felt their presence, and I have been “touched” by an angel a few times. I physically felt a touch on my arm, or the back of my head, or felt a cool breeze around me. I’ll tell those stories next week. I’ve seen the effects of their protection. But I’ve only had one true encounter. I’ll tell Mom’s first, then, mine.
Mom was a brave woman. She still travelled alone into her eighties. Yes, eighties. But there was one particular holiday I felt I should pray for her every step of the way. It was bad weather at Christmas, and she was flying from Kansas to Pennsylvania, where I live. She got lost in the Pittsburgh airport and couldn’t find her way. She was very concerned she’d miss her flight.
You had to know Mom. She was what we would call “directionally-challenged.” In other words, in unfamiliar territory she would have a difficult time figuring out what direction she was supposed to go. Hence her consternation at the airport–she’d already spent the night at a local hotel because of the weather, and nearly got stuck out on a lonely sidewalk between hotel buildings because of ice. She couldn’t climb it. And–at this time, she didn’t need a cane for balance yet.
As she looked around, she probably shot off a prayer, one of those foxhole type prayers of desperation. I was also praying for her from my home in Lancaster County that day, knowing the hard time she’d had the night before.
Suddenly, she heard a soft lovely, voice at her side. She looked around, and a kind, yet pretty woman dressed in a flight attendant’s uniform addressed her. Her sweet voice soothed Mom’s ragged nerves.
“Are you having problems?” Mom was a faithful viewer of the television show “Touched by an Angel.” She was already beginning to feel this woman was otherworldly. “Yes, I am. I can’t find my way.”
“Come with me.” The woman guided Mom to a staff elevator. Mom said to her, “Are you an angel?” She told me later the woman sounded almost exactly like Monica, played by Roma Downey. The woman replied, “Yes, I am,” with a beaming smile.
Once off the elevator, the woman took Mom to the right ticket counter where she could get her boarding pass. There was a long line. Because of the weather, many had been displaced from their original flight plan. Mom’s flight was due to leave soon. She guided Mom to the front of the line, and spoke with authority to the ticket agent.
“You need to get this woman her boarding pass now! I have the authority to tell you to do this.” Mom looked at the ticket agent, who swallowed hard, eyes open wide, but served her and gave her a boarding pass.
She turned around to thank the flight attendant, but she was gone. Isn’t that just like many other angel stories we’ve heard?
My encounter with an angel was much less dramatic, but still made an impression on me. About sixteen years ago, I asked the Lord if I’d ever had an encounter with an angel, and did I know it, because I didn’t remember this at first.
When I was at home, going through things to help Mom move across country to live me and my husband, I came across some old letters I’d written home from college. Here’s the gist of what was contained in one of those letters.
I was a student at Oral Roberts University, and one afternoon I was reading my devotions in my dorm room. The devotions seemed particularly wonderful that day, yet almost hard to really believe and apply to my own life. Afterwards, I began walking the very short toward the music building, where I was going to practice piano and clarinet.
A young man came up to me. He looked just like another student. In my shaky-straining-to-remember-memory, he seemed about six feet tall, dark blond curly hair, white shirt, khaki pants, wearing a tan bow tie (they were popular then). We had a sentence or two of small talk, then he said, “You know, God really wants you to understand what you just read. He really wants you to get it.”
I gulped, then turned my head around looking up at him, my eyes wide. I thought to myself, “Either he’s a mind reader, a prophet, or an angel.” I didn’t think he was a mind reader. I’d never met a real prophet at that time. So I figured he had to be an angel.
I replied, “All right. I’ll accept it.” We’d arrived at the music building. He went his way. I went mine. I never saw that guy again. At that time, ORU wasn’t that big. If he’d been a student, I would have run into him again somewhere. But I never did.
In my letter, I didn’t say he was an angel, but I figured Mom would know I felt I’d had a conversation with a real angel. And who knows? I may have met many others, but I was unaware. And wouldn’t you know it, I put that letter in a “safe” place, but do you think I can find it? Nope. I’m wondering if heaven didn’t reclaim it. I did practically memorize what I’d written while I had it. I wanted to be able to remember this encounter. I’ve asked the Lord to help me remember any other details, and that’s when the description came to me.
Hebrews 13:2 says “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Until I read my letter from college, that’s what I figured. I might have entertained angels without knowing, but that incident recalled to mind twenty-plus years later, reminded me that maybe I really did encounter an angel.
How about you? Have you seen an angel? If you did, how did you know? Leave a comment and let me know.