"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." ---John 14:6
Thursday, April 11, 2019
The Night The Angels Came
While wading through old blog posts so to polish them, I found this one from 2005. Thought I'd share it with you on this cold April afternoon.
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." ... Hebrews 13:2
I was 16.
My family had gathered around the dinner table one rainy Wednesday night along with our pastor and his wife. At that time, my dad was the assistant pastor of our church in Auburn, CA.
The phone rang, so my dad answered it to find that a woman was calling from a damp phone booth in a shopping center two blocks away.
She sounded anxious, he later told us. She and her young daughter were traveling to go live with her (the mother's) father. She'd thought they'd reach his home by nightfall, yet still they had miles to go--they needed a place to stay overnight, and she had no money.
My dad asked her to hold for a minute, then he turned to us all and told this woman's story. Our pastor said, "Oh, you can call Brother ______ about it. I usually let him take care of things like that."
That sounded odd to me. Shouldn't we help this woman since she called us? (Living in the parsonage, we shared the church's phone number.) Wouldn't it take a long time to get her some help if she had to make another call and start her story over with someone who lived farther away?
My dad must have thought that, too, because he told our pastor he would drive over to the shopping center and lead her to our house.
He turned back to the phone, relayed the message to the woman, then hung up. We'd finished dinner anyway and our pastor and his wife needed to walk up the hill to our church to prepare for the mid-week service. They left, then my dad went to guide the woman to our house. My mom, sister and brother and I hurriedly cleared the table and changed the sheets on the double bed in my room upstairs which always served as the guest room.
We kids loved to have company. It didn't matter whether our guests were relatives, old friends, or the down-and-out folks my dad sometimes brought home(one traveling teen even arrived with a huge Great Dane when I was 14). In fact, I enjoyed caring for the down-and-outers best--to help and encourage them, with no strings attached. My heart always felt like it would explode from joy.
To shorten this story, when the woman and her 7-year-old daughter arrived we showed them my room upstairs. They commented on my lime-green walls and teen decor, then they settled-in while the rest of us walked downstairs. We'd all planned to attend the midweek service that night, but it was decided that I'd remain at the house in case our guests needed anything (in 1975, we weren't as paranoid about strangers like now).
So the rest of my family climbed the backyard hill to the church and I sat at the kitchen breakfast counter with my English Lit. homework.
Fifteen minutes passed then the woman and her daughter came down the stairs with their big suitcase. With smiles, the mother said, "My daughter really wants to go see her grandfather tonight instead of in the morning. So we're going to leave now, but we do want to thank you so much for being willing to have us stay. We really appreciate it and please do tell your parents how grateful we are."
She gently shook my hand, picked up her suitcase and then both mother and daughter stepped out the front door.
This turn of events surprised me. I just stood near the door wondering if it would be ok with my parents that I let these guests get away so soon without convincing them to stay.
And then it hit me--after they'd left, I'd heard no car motor start up. Their car had been parked just feet from our house front, yet I'd seen no headlights (the door was half glass and next to our huge window). My heart pounded as I pulled back the curtain and saw nothing out on the dark, wet street.
Thirty years later, I still believe what I told my family when they stepped through our door that night after church-- that we had entertained angels unaware. It was as though they'd stepped from the door and vanished. And my story must have sounded convincing because they all still believe it, also.
We Christians will never really know until reaching Heaven just how many angels crossed our path to test what we had learned, believed and what we had become.
And yet? If we cooperate with God in the little annoying trials of Every Day, we'll always be willing and prepared for any angels who may call upon us on an otherwise normal rainy autumn night.
"... be prepared in season and out of season ...Be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined." ... 1 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:8
"How about rather than always trying to 'get ready', we just live ready, instead?" --- Joyce Meyer