In a letter addressed to God, a little girl wrote: "Dear God, do you get your angels to do all your work? Mommy says that we are her angels, and we have to do everything!"
Do you believe in angels?
Walt Shepard does. He was depressed over a broken relationship and was ready to end his life. Early one Sunday morning, while driving 120 miles per hour down a deserted New Orleans highway, he plowed into the back of a parked car. Both cars burst into flames. The manager of a nearby motel heard the crash and called 911. Walt was thrown through his windshield and was lying on the mangled engine, trapped by the crumpled hood. Fire surrounded him, and he blacked out.
When the highway patrol arrived, the fire was so intense that it kept them from getting within 50 feet of the wreckage. As they stood with the hotel manager, helplessly watching, they saw two figures approach the car without hesitation. They pulled Walt from the flames, then helped a rescue team load him in an ambulance. As the ambulance sped away, the officers turned to question the two men, but they had disappeared.
Walt began a long, slow, and painful recovery in the hospital. He became bitter and angry but had long hours to think. He remembered his childhood and the truths his father, a Presbyterian minister, had taught him. Walt finally gave up and asked God to forgive him and come into his life. Peace and joy flooded Walt's heart for the first time in his life, and he fell into a deep sleep. When he shared this experience with his father, his dad said, "Son, I have been trying to find the two men who rescued you from the fire for two months. No one else saw them, and the police cannot find a trace of them. I believe they were two angels sent by God to rescue you so you could make this decision."
I believe angels are real, that they do exist and are at work in our lives. There are three reasons I believe in angels.
1. I have sensed their presence in my own life.
Dan and I had just moved to Clinton, Mississippi, where Dan had been hired as a professor at Mississippi College. Our son Jered was four, and our daughter Danna was one. I had gone to the doctor for a routine physical. But I always dreaded going because I had severe fibrocystic disease. I'd already undergone several biopsies, my first one being done at the age of 18, one week after my mother's radical mastectomy.
When the tests were done, the doctor looked me in the eye and said, "There is another lump." I passed terrified and went straight to numb.
I stumbled to my car in a daze. After closing the door, I promptly fell apart, sobbing hysterically. I cried until I thought I had no more tears - and then I cried some more. Suddenly, a presence filled the car with incredible peace and a sense of overwhelming joy. And then I heard His voice whisper, "Mary, I am here. Lift up your head, trust me, and walk straight ahead through your fear."
When I got to our house, Dan was waiting for me. The concerned doctor had called and told that him I was on my way home and that I was a total mess. I pulled into the driveway and jumped out of the car – grinning! Dan said, "The face is familiar, but I don't believe I know you." With all of my heart, I truly believe that my life was touched by an angel that day.
2. I know many other believers who have experienced the presence of angels in their lives.
Cheryl Toth tells the story of when her car broke down in the middle of the West Texas desert fifty miles from the nearest town. She and her two children tried to flag down help, but no one stopped.
Cheryl finally sat down behind the wheel of her car and prayed that God would send someone to help them. It wasn't long until a small blue Toyota truck pulled up, and an older couple stepped out. To Cheryl's amazement, the woman said, "We were on another highway when God told us to change direction because someone needed our help."
The man was a mechanic. When he looked under the hood, he discovered a dead battery. The couple left sandwiches and drinks and went into town, returning two hours later with a new battery that the man installed.
The woman turned to Cheryl, placed her hands on Cheryl's cheeks, and said, "You'll be alright, Cheryl." Turning to the kids, the woman added, "Michael and Janet, be good to your mom. See that she gets home safely. It's still a long way to Indiana." The couple got in their truck and drove away.
"Then it hit me," Cheryl said. "They knew my name. They knew the names of my children, and they knew where we were going. We had told them none of those things."
3. The Bible confirms the existence of angels and the part they play in our lives.
Thirty-four of the Bible's sixty-six books talk about angels in detail. Every New Testament writer confirms their existence. The word "angel" or "angels" occurs more than 300 times in Scripture.
Genesis 3:24 "After God forced the man out of the garden, he placed angels and a sword of fire that flashed around in every direction on its eastern border."
Revelation 7:11 "All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures. They all bowed down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God."
The Bible validates the existence of angels and is, by far, the most important reason for believing in angels.
My experiences, the experiences of others, and even your experiences with angels must be held up and measured against the Word of God. The Bible gives us compelling information that validates the existence of angels. It not only confirms the reality of angels, but it clearly describes angels and their roles in our lives. Let's look at some fundamental truths from God's Word about angels.
God created angels.
Psalm 148:2-5 "Praise him, all his angels, praise him, and heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun, and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded, and they were created."
These verses paint the picture of the creation praising the Creator. The Bible tells us that angels, like men, were created by God. At one time, no angels existed. In fact, nothing existed except God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Then God went to work.
Originally all angels were created holy. God could not create sin, but when sin entered the world, the angels had to make a choice. Some chose to follow God – the holy angels. "Holy" means "set apart" or "chosen." Some angels chose to rebel against God and follow Satan. Those angels are condemned.
Matthew 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"
Good or bad, all angels are beings who God created.
Job 38:6-7 "What were the earth's foundations set on, or who put its cornerstone in place while the morning stars sang together, and all the angels shouted with joy?"
We don't know exactly when angels were created, but we do know angels were present for part of creation. We also know angels were made before the third day of the creation week. On the third day of creation, God gathered waters into seas, and the dry land appeared.
Because the angels saw God create the earth's foundation and set it in place, they shouted for joy! In other words, they were God's cheerleaders during creation. And creation must have been something to see!
Angels are immortal.
Mark 12:25 "When people rise from the dead, they will not marry, nor will they be given to someone to marry. Instead, they will be like the angels in heaven."
Angels do not die, so the number of angels is and always will be the same. Angels do not reproduce or marry. And exactly how many angels exist? We don't know. But we do know that there are a bunch of them!
Matthew 26:53 "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?"
That is enough angels for each disciple to have his own entire legion for his personal bodyguards. A typical Roman company numbered from three to six thousand men, often with the same number of backup troops. That is about 144,000 troops.
Hebrews 12:22 "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly."
"Thousands upon thousands" means "countless." Angels are countless, and they never die!
Angels are spirit beings.
Hebrews 1:14a "All the angels are spirits who serve God."
Don't believe everything you hear about angels. Some people view them as filmy wisps of smoke or chubby celestial beings with bowed heads, beautiful wings, and glowing halos. Angels are spirits that exist beyond and above the level of matter. Spirit is substance, but the spirit has no weight – no dimension – no size. The spirit is very real.
1 Corinthians 15: 44 "They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies. Just as there are natural bodies, so there are also spiritual bodies."
Angels are spirits created by God for God. Angels are God's servants. As with every creation of God, there is a purpose. Angels are no different. Not only were angels created to serve and worship God, but they were also created to carry out God's will.
Psalm 103:20 "Praise the LORD, you angels of his, you mighty creatures who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands.
Angels are God's messengers. The angel's message that day in the car was a message of hope, a message of peace, and a message of comfort. Angels are God's servants.
Angels are our helpers.
Hebrews 1:14b "All the angels are spirits who serve God and are sent to help those who will receive salvation."
A group of pastors in Springfield, Illinois, went to Mexico on a mission trip. When they began their trip home, their van had mechanical problems. They jacked up the van, and one of the pastors crawled under the vehicle to see if he could find the problem. The jack suddenly collapsed, crushing the pastor. The other pastors quickly grabbed the bumper but could not budge the van. The pastor underneath cried out, "Jesus, help me!" A young Mexican man came running toward them. He was thin and small but smiling as he reached the van. Without a word, the young man grabbed the bumper and lifted it. The others joined in and lifted the van like it was a feather.
But there is more! As he was freed, the pastor felt his chest expand, and the broken bones mend. The young man lowered the van and ran in the direction he had come. The pastors saw what happened but just stared at each other in amazement. When they turned to thank the visitor, he had disappeared.
Angels exist, and they are present and active in our daily lives. The problem is that we are unaware of their presence. What would happen if we began to look for our angels every day?
Mary Southerland is also the Co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a conference and devotion ministry for women. Mary’s books include, Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, 10-Day Trust Adventure, You Make Me So Angry, How to Study the Bible, Fit for Life, Joy for the Journey, and Life Is So Daily. Mary relishes her ministry as a wife, a mother to their two children, Jered and Danna, and Mimi to her six grandchildren – Jaydan, Lelia, Justus, Hudson, Mo, and Nori.