Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Some Embarrassing Thoughts on Angels

We decorated for Christmas this year.  It's been awhile since we've done that - Steve and I typically celebrate the holiday at family members' houses, availing ourselves of their trees and tinsel.  But this year we went all out.

What surprised me as I looked around yesterday at our newly festooned living room was the prominence of angels.  With no specific intention on our part, there are angels everywhere.  And in that, I sensed God trying to tell me something.

Now, I wish I could say that the Lord led me to the Christmas story in the gospel of Luke, and I was awash in wonder at the miracle of the virgin birth.  But alas, no.

Instead (and perhaps because He knows me so well) God pointed me to a book. It's a paperback novel I've read at least four times, because it describes the battle between good and evil in a way that helps me believe.

The book is called This Present Darkness by Frank Perretti.  I first read it a the behest of a friend. She's a numbers person who never raves about books. So when she said, "You HAVE to read this," I did.  The prose is a little...unsophisticated.  But once I stopped being a writing snob, the plot swept me up in a story that felt very real, detailing a world where the people in power who are charged with looking out for others are corrupt, knowingly cooperating with evil, and hurting everyone they're supposed to be helping. In the midst of this, the prayers of the little people--the powerless--feel futile.  And yet a few  pray anyway, because that's the only thing they can do.

And in that, here's what Perretti shows us:  How their prayers summon angels.  Not sweet old-lady angels with harps and rhyming promises about sitting on your shoulder, but big fighting angels ready to deliver God's message, take down ugly spirits with their swords, and change things, miraculously, in the way that we hope for when we pray, but don't quite believe is possible.  (Sort of like Touched by an Angel...only with weapons!)

THAT is a Christmas message I can get excited about.

I doubt that things work exactly the way Perretti depicts in his novels. But I think he's onto something, offering a glimpse of the truth that invites us closer to God--to ask for more insight, more heavenly help, more belief that what is happening is not limited to what we can see.

That seems like an Advent-y kind of place to be.

My prayer today: Dear God, help me believe in Your angels. Help me trust that You are working in places I cannot see, bringing good I cannot anticipate, winning battles I'd give up on if left to my own devices.  Thank You for not leaving me to my own devices. I believe - help my unbelief. In Jesus' name, Amen.


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