Friday, October 22, 2010

Do angels believe in you?

That's right. I believe angels exist whether you believe in them or not. But do angels believe IN YOU?

A few weeks ago, my mom pulled into the Arby's drive-thru and waited and waited for the van in front of her at the window to pull forward. A woman got out of the van, obviously in deep distress--and mom, seeking to comfort her, got out of her Taurus and offered her . . . coupons. The woman said she had no money, no way to get food, and so she was going to go inside the restaurant to ask if they would give her something to eat.

Compelled to act, mom handed her $5. The van pulled through and took off without mom getting any further details on their plight. When mom pulled up to the drive-thru, however, she was told that someone had paid for whatever she wanted to order. She was shocked. Now, is it possible that someone saw her comforting that woman and interceded to reward the kindness of a stranger? And is it also possible that something supernatural was going on? That God was showing up through an angel to remind mom and all of us to be loving givers who go about doing good? I believe only God knows for sure.

"Keep on loving each other as brothers, for by so doing, some have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:1-2

We've been studying angelology, or the study of angels, in my systematic theology class. One of the things that has surprised me the most is that I'm a little jealous of the angels, to be honest. I mean, we learn from the Bible that God created us as humans in His image, and we sometimes feel this tremendous pride and awe because of it. Now to study how God created angels, and how they get to fight the good fight in the spiritual realm, is a little crazy to contemplate. Honestly, we either think about angels too little or too much it seems to me. 

They are not worthy of our worship; only God is. Still, they are His messengers, and they do protect us and work among us, though as one scholar notes, they more likely offer "zone" rather than "one-on-one" protection. Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate we have a personal guardian angel.

Definition of angels – A biblical term describing God’s messengers or ambassadors, belonging to his heavenly court and service. They are non-human beings created with personality who assist in Christ’s work of reconciliation— praising Him in heaven, and doing His will on earth.[i]

It's interesting to note that the Bible's description of angels, for whatever reason, seems to describe them as distinctly male. We have Michael the archangel who leads the angelic armies against Satan and Gabriel, the angel who announced the Virgin Birth.

An author friend of mine, Trudy Harris, wrote a compelling book called Glimpses of Heaven. As a hospice nurse, she shares the dying stories of many who experienced supernatural events in their last days and hours. At first she thought many of them were just dehydrated or medicated when seeing visions of angels at the foot of their bed, until she realized patients across the board were having these types of experiences. Interestingly enough, the patients always insisted that these angels were tall, dressed in white, and distinctly male. Even when Trudy prodded them, asking if they were sure. 

Angels remind us that we are in a battle of spiritual wills--Satan, the fallen angel has come to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus has come that we may have life, and have it abundantly. His heavenly messengers fight on our behalf and bring glory and praise to the One who was poured out for us. I, for one, am grateful.

And let me assure you: as God's messengers of reconciliation, angels most certainly believe in you--while giving all glory and praise to the One who was slain.

"And they were calling to one another: holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." Isaiah 6:3

[i] Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, (Baker Reference Library). 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2001, 60.


  1. Nice post, Suzanne. I remember in 1999 when I began to first study the Bible...I was devastated to find out that human beings do not become angels when they die. It was shortly after I lost my mom, and I certainly wanted the comfort of knowing that she was still watching over me, protecting me, and acting as my "personal guardian angel," because that is what the world teaches, right? I was disappointed when my mentor wisely advised me differently. As you stated, this teaching is simply not in the Bible. But we do know from scripture, concerning this issue of spiritual warfare, "greater are those (angels) who are with us than those who are with them (on Satan's side)." I too am so grateful that they are fighting on our behalf. Your fellow sista in seminary, Natasha

  2. Beautiful understanding of angels Suzanne. Scripture speaks of angels so often that i wonder sometimes, why people hesitiat to believe in them. In today's world, I am happy to say, that many if not most you speak with have had experiences through which they feel, an angelic presence has been involved. My Mom siad, as she got older that she always asked her guardian angel to find her a parking spot up close to the store she was visiting. She was never disappointed.So happy for your new studies which are opening you up more and more to the reality of God's world.
    Thank you for your mention of Glimpses of Heaven which is now in 9 languages.