All Night, All Day (Angels Watching Over Me)

(Read Daniel 6)

Michael,-Jody,-and-AngelsIt had come back. For the third time, my mother-in-law’s breast cancer had reared its horrific, nasty, ugly head. A week after our baby boy was born, my in-laws came down for what we thought was a happy congratulatory visit, and it turned out to be a moment of somber news.

After two mastectomies, it had metastasized to other organs, so there weren’t many treatment options. She tried lots of special diets and some all-natural remedies. The only thing that gave her real hope and joy during this darkness was her faith. My God, how she had faith! She told me she was doing ok, but that nights were especially hard.

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
Psalm 91:11-12

During this third resurgence, I gave her a gift with the hopes of lifting her spirits and giving her strength. It’s a pen-and-ink illustration of the archangel Michael. “Michael” is known as a powerful and revered angel who is often depicted as a warrior and defender of the faith. Most relevant is that many people consider the angel Michael to be the protector and defender of people. The Bible portrays him as a guardian who slays evil. While falling short of the majesty of Christ, he was a fitting representation for me to draw as a symbol of hope and perseverance.

When you choose to make God your life, He commands His angels to watch over you and surround you with His divine protection. In the simplest terms, Angels are God’s messengers. They are created beings far more powerful and knowledgeable about God’s ways than we are. Angels are often depicted as having wings, but they can appear in any form God chooses. God often sends angels to help us by providing guidance, protection, and comfort. Angels also deliver messages from God. Psalm 91 tells us that angels are commanded to guard us with the authority to act on our behalf on all occasions. What a powerful reassurance to have messengers, warriors, and servants of God connecting us to Him in all aspects of our life.

People can go crazy when it comes to angels, both for and against. People who worship angels might be mistaken about their level of importance regarding the hierarchy of the Holy Trinity and the angelic realm. Those folks who refuse to accept the possibility of angels have missed the importance and specific references to God’s messengers in the Bible.

In Genesis, two angels appeared to Lot in front of Sodom and Gomorrah to warn him to flee the city before it is destroyed. In Exodus, angels lead the Israelites out of Egypt. In the New Testament, angels appeared to Mary to announce that she would give birth to Jesus. Throughout history, Angels have done more than help us survive. They helped us to grow in our faith and to live more faithfully.

My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.
Daniel 6:22

The night Daniel spent in the lions’ den, he was the only one who got a good night’s sleep. King Darius was up praying all night, and the angel was up all night protecting him. Daniel didn’t puff up his chest and claim a hero’s helping of courage; he gave it to God. He gave God all the glory. Jesus was also thrown into the lions’ den on the cross. At Calvary, Christ didn’t rest. He wasn’t left alone. He was brutally torn apart. In this case, no angel stood by Him to shut the lions’ mouths. Angels don’t always bail us out, and they don’t always fix our problems — they do the work of God. Testing God’s work won’t get you rest, but trusting in His work will.

Angels Among us
Genelle Guzman-McMillan was the last person pulled alive from the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. She was 30 years old and had immigrated to the United States from Trinidad just a few years earlier.

She was working on the 64th floor of the North Tower when the first plane hit and survived the initial impact, but she was trapped in the sea of debris when the tower collapsed. Guzman-McMillane spent the next 27 hours buried alive, surrounded by darkness and the muffled sound of her own screams.

During that time, Guzman-McMillan said she felt the presence of a man who called her name and held her hand to pull her out. Guzman-McMillan was eventually rescued by firefighters, but she could never find the man who had saved her life. She named him “Paul” in her book, Angel in the Rubble. Guzman-McMillan believes that Paul was a real angel who intervened in her life during the desperate moments needed to save her life. She said her experience with Paul gave her a new purpose and faith in God.

I long for the deep, sometimes playful, sometimes heavy faith discussions with my mother-in-law, Jody. She was so patient, so loving. She showed me a world I didn’t know existed. I know angels aren’t people who die and magically transform into angelic beings. But since Jody’s passing, I’ve always believed she’s been an advocate up there on our behalf. I have to believe it’s more than sentimental memories when I feel her warm, piercing presence in certain circumstances throughout my life. If you knew her, you’d agree that, at the very least, she’s winking to the angels in charge, “C’mon, just once, go ahead.” Or nudging them in the ribs.

The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.
Exodus 3:2

The bush was a sign to Moses that God was present. As the angel of the Lord, God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, telling him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. At first, Moses was reluctant, but God assured him He would be with him. Moses would return to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of slavery. This passage is a beautiful reminder that God is always with us, even in difficult times. God is a God of hope and deliverance. He will always be with us, no matter what challenges we face.

The Angel of the Lord is a mysterious figure who appears throughout the Bible. Sometimes identified with God and sometimes with Jesus Christ, the Angel of the Lord performs many miracles, including delivering us from danger, healing the sick, and raising the dead. The Angel of the Lord also speaks on behalf of God, delivering messages and judgments.

The identity of the Angel of the Lord is debated among scholars. Some scholars believe that the Angel of the Lord is simply a way of referring to God. Others believe that the Angel of the Lord is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Still, others believe that the Angel of the Lord is a separate being closely associated with God.

Regardless of its identity, the Angel of the Lord is a powerful symbol of God’s presence and guidance in our lives. The Angel of the Lord is a reminder of God’s love and compassion for humanity.

Is the Angel of the Lord still active today? I can say, ABSOLUTELY, at least in my understanding. Whether the angel of the Lord is a Guardian Angel, Michael, or a garden variety angel, all angels are a reminder of God’s love and care for us.

God created angels to be His messengers to help and guide us. Jody peacefully passed away six weeks after our son, Michael, was born. It was the most confusing, most stressful, most chaotic, and somehow most profound six weeks of my life. Without God’s presence in her life, Jody would never have been so graceful in facing the transition of her journey. Without God’s presence in our lives, we wouldn’t have made it either. Angels were with us, lifting us, bearing our burdens, wiping our tears, holding us tight. They gave us a sense of overwhelming love when we couldn’t see it, taste it, or hear it.

Lord, stay with me through the night.
Angels watching over me, my Lord.
Wake me with the morning light.
Angels watching over me.
All Night, All Day (Angels Watching Over Me)

Key Applications:

  1. Do you feel God’s refuge and strength in times of trouble? Pray about this if you do. Pray about this if you don’t.
  2. What promises does the psalmist make about God’s protection and provision?
  3. Whenever you feel isolation and darkness, look for the hope God gives us. It might even be in the form of an angel.

Where else in your life can you live out the teachings of Christ? Look for next week’s Devotion.

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