Stump the Rector – More About Angels

The Archangel Michael

Karen wrote:
If we have guardian angels, why do people suffer horrible deaths through accidents, murder and disease? Of what good are these Angels when they can’t or won’t protect us?

Karen, first let me admit I am no angel expert. My understanding is very limited. I stated in a recent post that we should believe in them because they show up literally from Genesis to Revelation in the Bible. They seem to have rank and order since there are Angels and there are Archangels. They interject themselves in the affairs of man like removing Lot and his family from Sodom before destruction or opening the prison cell for the Apostles. They are heralds of great news such as telling the shepherds of the birth of Christ. They rejoice in heaven when a lost sheep comes home.

As wonderful as these created spirits are, at the same time we are not to give Angels undue attention and especially we are not make them objects of our worship. This much I do know and hope that we believe these things in common.

But allow me to try to answer your question by asking a question. Couldn’t you ask the same question about God? “If there is a God then why do people suffer horrible accidents, murder and disease? Of what good is God when He can’t or won’t protect us?”

And yet we know that God is good and God is all powerful and we know that bad things still happen. Bad things happening therefore is not evidence that God cannot or will not help us. It is evidence that we live in a fallen world and that sometimes things happen that are beyond our comprehension. There is a will and way of God that is beyond our understanding and we are called to trust Him to work ALL things out to our good, even the bad things.

So because Angels do not protect us every time is not reason to doubt that they protect us much of the time. There is a story in the Old Testament of Daniel praying and it took 21 days for the prayer to be answered. When Daniel asked why the delay, the Angel told him that it took him that long to fight his way down here.

I think it is an act of mercy that we don’t fully realize the spiritual warfare and evil that exists all around us and what forces the Angels drive from us. I imagine that if we did we would be balled up in fetal position all day, paralyzed by fear.

Allow me to tell you of what I believe to be angelic protection in my life. I was driving on Sunday afternoons to Cookeville to teach a Lenten series. Most of the drive was on the interstate and at one point I looked across the highway and I saw a priest on foot, walking along the shoulder, headed in the opposite direction. I surmised that his car had broken down so I drove to the next exit, turned around and drove in the direction that he was walking. I drove far past where I had first seen him but I never came across him nor his presumed broken down car. It was as if had vanished.

I first thought that someone had picked him up before I was able to get to him but I was only out of his sight for a few minutes. In that brief time that they would still be negotiating a ride by the time I got to them. Plus I never saw an abandoned car on the other side of the road nor could I reasonably explain why a priest would be walking down the interstate in full clericals on a warm sunny Sunday afternoon. As I meditated on it, my impression was that God had sent an angel to detour me to avoid danger up the road. Because he was dressed like a priest I felt an obligation to a fellow cleric and that is what caused me to turn around. For all I know, this delay had spared my life.

While that story is pure conjecture on my part, I believe that God has blessed us with these good spirits who work His will for our lives. While they do not protect everyone every time, we can be thankful for all that they do. Our response should be to join with them in offering praise and thanksgiving to God.

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