Billy Graham called them “God’s secret agents.” I am sure there are people who wonder if they are for real. Personally, I side with the Reverend Graham. I believe that angels are in our very midst. I think they guide us with the light of God’s love, that they wear many faces, and as Scripture shows, they appear in some strange places in our time of need.
Psalm 91:11 says, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” You may believe that there are no such heavenly beings, but like Billy Graham I believe angels exist, because the Bible says there are angels, and I believe the Bible to be the true Word of God (plus I’ve watched multiple times one of my favorite Jimmy Stewart movies, “It’s A Wonderful Life”).
Before I sidetrack myself with all the movies I’ve watched featuring angels, let’s return to Scripture. In Genesis 28:10-19, Jacob lies down to sleep and dreams of a ladder that was set up on the earth, and the top if it reached to heaven. We are told that there the “angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” Can you imagine the length of that ladder? And angels ascending and descending from the house of God to guide, appear and sing to his people on earth? What a sight that must have been! And what a feeling to know that even if we can’t see them, angels are standing here, messengers of our Almighty God.
How many times when life holds troubled moments and has us on our knees, there seems someone there to come along and comfort us? A kind word from a stranger, to lend a helping hand. A phone call from a friend, just to say they understand. Someone to help us in our darkest hours? Someone who comes alongside you and guides you. Someone who prayers with you in time of need, when you think you are at the end of your rope? Angels are associated with God himself and help in administering his works and plans in our lives. They are there to protect and assist us. And just as in God’s Word, when we see his armies fighting for God’s people in the Old Testament, they are fighting for us today, to attain victory over the forces of darkness.
In biblical times, angels intervened in human situations in human form: in a dream to Joseph (Matthew 1:20) or to Mary (Luke 1:26) or around God’s throne (Revelation 5:11). Or at the resurrection when the women looked into the tomb and saw “two angels in white, where the body of Jesus had lain” (John 20:11, 12). And they heard the greatest message the world has ever heard from two men in dazzling apparel: “He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:4-6)
Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us to “not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” And in Matthew 4:11 angels were involved in Jesus life on earth when they ministered to him after Satan tempted him in the wilderness.
Yet my favorite angel remains the angel of the Lord who appeared to country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. As God’s messenger stood before them, they were greatly afraid. Who wouldn’t be? But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (KJV, Luke 2:8-14)
What a sight that must have been. Angels, sent down to us from somewhere up above, showing up in the strangest places, with the light of God’s love.
For this year, and all years to come, let us be thankful and be a gift to each other, and sing in remembrance of that night so long ago:
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King.”