Assisted by Angels

Many of us think about angels appearing in the Old and New Testaments, but forget they are a reality now. But in his article "Not Just at Christmas," T. M. Moore reminds us that angels, God's workers, are around us today. 

It amazes me that God loves us, warts and all, so much that He directs His heavenly hosts to aid us in times of trouble.

Another way to think about the work of angels it is even if we are alone, we are never really alone.  Let's ponder this awe-inspiring news with gratitude. 

Happy New Year!


Thank you, Kim and Lee. I too often find myself coming up short of her example.
Obviously your mother was an incredible woman, Kevin - both from this anecdote and from the evidence of how her son turned out. R.C. Sproul (Sr.) takes her point quite a bit further, saying that the question is not why bad things happen to good people (since strict Calvinists believe there are no such people), but why good things happen to anyone at all.

And Jason's point about angels and mystery is a fair one. Note that the mystery is bidirectional, according to 1 Peter 1:12.
I should hardly think that preacher is right Kevin. That makes heaven sound like a constant surge of distilled dopamine. I should think we have more intellectual curiousity, not to mention more compassion in heaven. However the preacher is surely right in that thoughts of such things won't overwhelm us.
Kevin, your mother had a keen insight into suffering!
That's a fair point, Jason, and more intellectually honest than the claims of some who think they've got these things figured out.

Someday, I hear, we'll get answers to a lot of our questions. Human suffering is obviously high on most people's list. Then again, I heard a preacher say that we'll be in such bliss that we won't care as much about such things as we do in this life.

As my mother's ALS was advancing and taking so much from her, I told her that the first thing I wanted to ask God upon meeting Him is why something that terrible happened to her. She responded by asking me why she's so special that she should be spared from such a thing. I still find that one of the most amazing displays of Christian humility I have ever witnessed.
Maybe we aren't told because if there was nothing more to find out life would be to tedious. Could a human, even a redeemed human, endure omniscience?
Sometimes, Lee, I wish that distinction were clearer. As it is-and this alludes to Jason's question--it is pretty much impossible for us to know who is responsible for what. Jason points out that God can work through people, to which the atheist can reply that it was simply people and we're imagining God behind it. Even the believer could make that argument, and possibly be right in many cases.

When God does use people, it usually doesn't smack of the supernatural. Again, it's something an atheist could explain away quite easily. Angels are another matter, especially as described by Moore. They are said to have done things that one would typically ascribe to a god. Yet, there are other such acts (in Exodus, for instance) that seem to have been carried out by God directly. That's the kind of thing I grapple with.

I can see the respective, distinctive roles of God and people. Angels remain a puzzle to me. That isn't to say that I doubt their existence; the Bible is a good enough source for me. I just don't understand them and how they're used.
I agree with you, Kevin, but it disturbs me greatly. There's a lot of irony in the 2 Kings 6:8-23 passage, because it's all about vision - or lack thereof. Elisha's servant is unable to see, but doesn't know it; the soldiers are deliberately blinded and then have their sight deliberately restored.

What disturbs me so much is this: am I also blind to what goes on around me, because my worldview is so completely "scientific" that there is no room for angels and their intervention? Do I make plans to accomplish something (even calling it "a plan of attack"), and then fail because of willful blindness, only to see my failure once it's too late and I'm surrounded by Samaritans?

Gotta love 2 Kings 6:22-23, though, since it's so reminiscent of Psalm 23:5. Our God is a God of wholly unexpected grace.

And to Mr. Moore's point, I believe I would plan and act and think and pray altogether differently if I could rid myself of the notion that the natural world, red in tooth and claw, is all there is, it's a dog-eat-dog world, and my success or failure is entirely up to me. This seems like a good year in which to try a more . . . "collaborative" approach to the problems I face.

To try to provide an answer to your question, though, I'll pose one back to you: if God did everything Himself directly, wouldn't that make it easier to believe that there is a natural realm, and a supernatural one, and the two are typically distinct? I.e., that God sits up in Heaven and only periodically deigns to reach into our world - rather than having His agents here in full force at any time, and maybe even *all* the time? I loved Frank Peretti's _This Present Darkness_ not because it's excellent theologically, but because it in fact "opened my eyes" to possibilities to which I'd been blind. As a bonus, it revised forever my notions of angels as soft, gentle, comforting blonde women with wings, as they've been so often depicted. I now wonder if the choir of Luke 2:13-14 was not sopranos and altos, but baritones and basses, possibly including some octavists like me. ( ) Maybe the ground shook under the feet of the shepherds; I'd like to think so.
It's exactly the same reason why God uses his children (us) to help in the redemption/restoration of the broken world.

God is the God of work--it makes sense to me that he'd give his other heavenly creatures--if that's the right word--jobs to do.
Of course it isn't clear why He would send us to do things He could do Himself, is it?
I'll admit that angels are a real mystery to me. Unlike Moore, I don't think the Bible is entirely clear about what role angels might play in our lives today, what powers and limitations they might have, etc. There's also the question of why God would send angels to do things He could do Himself, such as in Moore's description of delivering victory in a battle.

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