On today’s episode we talk a little bit about angels–both the heavenly kind and the earthly kind. I also share a story from my family history which teaches about earthly angels.
Are There Angels in the World Today?
First, I need to do a shout out to Elizabeth Allen, who shared her wonderful story last week about her son Jesse passing away. She also shared how she learned to see signs of Jesse in her life–that his light would appear in pictures that they were taking, and he was often with them.
So we’re going to talk about those kinds of angels, friends and people we know and love who come and be with us from the other side. And we’re also going to talk about physical angels that come into our lives at the moment we need them the very most.
A Favorite Old Testament Story
A couple of years ago I was at a church event, and they invited us to turn to the person next to us and share our favorite story from the Old Testament. And this is the story that I shared. Because it is one of those stories that impressed me so much when I first heard it.
Elisha and the Syrians
This story is found in 2 Kings chapter 6. And in this story, we have the prophet Elisha, and and there’s a war going on between Israel and Syria. And every time the Syrians go to make a move, it seems like the Israelites are prepared, and they know exactly what the Syrians are doing.
Finally, the King of Syria like, What’s going on? Who is the spy among us? Basically, who is telling the Israelites about our plans? And one of the people who was advising the king of Syria said it’s none of us. Israel has a prophet named Elisha, and he is counseling them what to do. And the King decided he wanted to talk to this prophet guy. Where is he so that I can talk to him? They said, He’s in a city called Dothan.
And so the Syrians went and surround this city called Dothan in the middle of the night. It says here in 2 Kings 6:14-17 it says, “They came by night and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early and gone for behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, (so he’s talking to Elisha), “Alas, my master! how shall we do?”
So at this point, He’s like, We’re dead. We are surrounded by our enemies.
Elisha Sees The Chariots of Fire
So Elijah, looking as only a prophet can, looked at the surrounding Syrian army and gave this powerful, powerful response.
“And he answered, fear not for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elijah prayed and said, Lord, I pray thee open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire, round about Elisha.”
So often, we, like the servant of Elisha, look at the world around us, and we freak out. There are so many things nowadays that can bring fear into our lives. My message today is “fear not they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
Loneliness During the Coronavirus
I think one of the most challenging things about the coronavirus and quarantining us to our homes is that it has been a very isolating experience. Perhaps we feel more alone than we have felt our entire lives. We feel alone, forgotten, like nobody cares, and that nobody understands what we’re going through.
And so my response to you is first, God understands. Second, you’re not alone. And I want to drive that home. Because there are horses and chariots and angels round about you. You may not see them, but they are there. And you can call on God, to have those angels be with you to help you “see” and feel the angels that are with you.
You may not see them with your physical eyes, but you can see them with spiritual eyes. There are family members and loved ones who are with us in our deepest and hardest moments of trial. I’ve had too many experiences in my life, to be able to say different.
Learning About Angels
I shared several podcasts ago about my cute story with Nathan when he was crying all through the night. And it wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning that I felt prompted to pray for angels. That was my true conversion to the power of angels both in soothing my troubled, exhausted, and weary soul, and soothing his. And so my friend, this is my message today: Angels are among us.
Family History Story of Angels
I had the opportunity to interview one of my uncle’s just this past Sunday. And I interviewed him about my great grandmother who he was blessed to grow up with in his own house until she passed away when he was 15 years old.
And I interviewed him about her because she lived a very, very hard life. Yet, she loved people, and she lived a very positive life. She was very influential. It was said of grandma Eliza that she loved people into the gospel of Jesus Christ. She just exuded this love, peace, and joy.
She was had some great points in her life, but she had some very, very hard times when she was abandoned by her husband, and when she was abused by another husband.
In fact, I’d love to share with you a story from my own family history about grandma Eliza and a very, very hard time in her life when a miracle happened through an angel.
The Story of Grandma Eliza and Angels
It was the Christmas of 1914. And it was anything but merry for my great-grandma Eliza and her three small children. Her husband had left the family alone and without money to look for opportunities in Texas and Mexico. So Eliza and the children were living in a single cold basement room in Provo, Utah that she rented for $5 a month.
They had little food, and most of the days it was one or two meager meals of chunks of bread, soaked in a glass of milk with a small dollop of fruit jam. Eliza later said that most of their food came in answer to prayers. When there was nothing to eat Eliza would go to her knees seeking for help from God. And her prayers were always answered by one person or another, who would sense her need and come with food.
These were her earthly angels.
Eliza provided for her family by cleaning homes and finding work when she could. She would leave Gwen (my grandmother), who was 11 at the time and, Anna, age nine in charge of her very active and often mischievous son Otis, who was seven.
The hard work was made even more difficult for her as she was expecting a baby in late December. Eliza was struggling to provide something for the children for Christmas and while the children’s slept she sewed dresses by hand for the girls and a shirt for Otis from some colorful flour sacks that she had found. She made Christmas stockings out of scrap material and was able to get some pieces of hard candy and an orange to put in each stocking.
Otis and the Sled
Otis, sweet Otis, not understanding the depth of their poverty came to Eliza and said, “Mama, I want a sled for Christmas. All the other boys have sleds.” Eliza told Otis that she would love to buy him a sled but it just would not be possible for this Christmas. Maybe next year she told him with the typical persistence of a seven year old who wants something special for Christmas, Otis just asked his mother again and again for a sled. And Eliza patiently responded each time that it just wouldn’t be possible that year.
One day Otis came to his mother and announced “Mama, you don’t have to get me a sled. I’ve taken care of it. You always tell us that if we really need something we just need to pray to Heavenly Father and He will answer our prayer. I prayed to him and I asked for a sled so he will get me a sled for Christmas.”
Trying to Provide a Christmas Miracle
Poor grandma Eliza she tried to explain to Otis the difference between needs and wants the We pray to Heavenly Father when we need food to eat or a place to live or a blessing to get better when we’re ill, but Otis wouldn’t hear of it. He insisted he needed a sled, and the way was to pray and ask Heavenly Father for it. Eliza was distraught that Otis didn’t understand and fearful that Otis’ young faith would be shattered when he didn’t get a sled for Christmas. She prayed with all the energy in her heart that Otis would understand and his faith would survive the certain disappointment on Christmas morning.
As Christmas approached, Eliza worked hard to finish her meager Christmas presents. A very special gift came to the family on Christmas Eve, a new baby girl Elizabeth was born. Christmas morning was special. The girls loved their new dresses and took turns holding their new baby sister. Otis was excited about the orange and the hard candy and his Christmas stocking.
Because of the generosity of a kind neighbor (another angel), they had a sumptuous meal that included ham, sweet potatoes, fresh bread and milk. Of course, Eliza couldn’t buy a sled for Otis. She watched Otis enjoying the candy and orange hoping that he had forgotten about the sled or finally accepted the fact that it just couldn’t happen that year.
The Answer to Prayer
At about nine in the morning, there was a knock on the door. When they opened the door, they were surprised to see a young boy of 13-years-old holding a sled. He said, “I got a new sled for Christmas, and I thought Otis might like to have my old one. I’ve got a wood burning set too, so I burned his name in the top of the sled.”
Otis’ prayer was answered through a young man who was an angel to their family that day. Grandma Eliza never forgot that story. And she was an angel to many during the rest of her life. As I have learned more about her and gone through challenges In my life, she is one of the angels, I feel who has been with me, in my hardest times and during my hardest nights.
Lessons About Angels
Listen to faith-promoting stories of ancestors
- Often when we hear these stories of courage of our ancestors, they boy us up. And we start thinking, well, if Great Grandma Eliza could go through all that, and still stay true to God, (which she did to the very end of her days), perhaps I can get through my challenge today because her blood runs in my veins.
Our ancestors can be our angels
- And so these angels, our ancestors, our family members who have passed on, are with us. And we need to live worthy of that blessing.
- Believe in God. believe that he answers your prayers through angels, both seen and unseen.
Pray and Read Scriptures
- To be worthy of angels, we should pray and read the scriptures, even if it’s a verse, every single day. Do your best to draw near to God and He will draw near to you, as he promises in the scriptures.
Become an angel
- There’s an interesting verse in Luke 22:32, and this is one of Jesus’s last things that he tells Simon Peter, before he was crucified, he says, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
So my friends, there are a lot of people out there who are struggling. Even we are going to have days which are really hard. I had it down day yesterday. In fact, I didn’t record this podcast yesterday, because I would have sounded down and you would have heard it.
But I want to tell you that we all have those down days and we just muddle through and keep going. Because guess what? Today is a new day. And I feel better today.
And so when we are converted, when we have that connection with God, God gives us power to strengthen our brethren. We become the angels that people see. We are the ones that can follow promptings to call a sister or a brother, or a friend or a neighbor, to touch base with them because they too have been lonely and isolated.
People Need Connection
Have you noticed that when you run into people, perhaps in your neighborhood or at the store or wherever lately, people want to talk now. Before we were too busy to talk, but now we crave friendship, we crave companionship.
I had to get together with a couple of friends just a couple weeks ago on my back patio, we sat around strategically placed so We were just socially distanced and we just had the greatest time chatting on the back patio. We had to spray ourselves on the mosquitoes came out, but you know, we need one another.
We became each other’s angels that day.
So my friends, have miracles ceased in these days of trouble and strife? My answer to you is no. Miracles have not ceased, God is still there. Read, pray, connect with God. Watch for angels and be an angel.
There is a beautiful song that I stumbled upon not long ago, which is called “Angels Among Us by Alabama. And it is a great song that talks about angels in our homes and the first verse says this,
I was walkin’ home from school
On a cold winter day,
Took a shortcut through the woods
And I lost my way.
It was gettin’ late, and I was scared and alone.
Then a kind old man took my hand, and led me home.
Mama couldn’t see him,
But he was standing there,
And I knew in my heart
He was the answer to my prayer.
Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, To teach us how to give,
To guide us with a light of love.
You’re Not Alone
So my friends, there are going to be times when you feel down, you feel discouraged–Know that God has not forgotten you. Even though you may feel lonely and isolated. You’re not alone.
There are truly angels among us. And you can pray for angels to be with you, and to be among you. And then when you feel strong enough, (and you don’t have to be very strong to be an angel) you can be someone’s angel. Sometimes you just have to be a listening ear, or a friend who follows a prompting to text someone at the right time, or to deliver cookies on someone’s doorstep. You can be someone’s Angel.
So my invitation to you today is to keep believing. Keep moving forward, pray for angels, and then be an angel. Have an awesome day, guys. Hope on.