“And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed . . . And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:41, 43).
“The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.” — George Elliot
“Angels descending, bring from above, Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.” — Fanny Crosby
“All God’s angels come to us disguised.” — James Lowell
The most critical time in Jesus’ life found Him forsaken by man, but in the company of a strength-giving angel. In Gethsemane, the sorrow was overwhelming as He anticipated drinking that “cup of sin” for all mankind. The disciples were sleeping as Jesus was weeping. He was all alone, except for this angel. Dispatched from Heaven, this heavenly envoy “strengthened Him.” The Scripture does not catalog the specifics as to how the angel brought this strength, but it plainly states that he did. And that is significant. The divine animation received from the angel, while it did not deliver Christ from the Cross, fortified Him to endure its agonies.
The Bible refers to “angels” and “angel” at least 297 times. Though unseen, these entities are actively involved in the lives of men upon the earth. The Scripture identifies angels as “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:13–14). Angels are messengers sent from God to benefit the saints. Though not clarified explicitly, we have many glimpses into the function of angels.
Paul was being transported with other prisoners on a ship. He warned that the voyage would meet with peril, but the centurion believed the ship’s owner more than Paul. Sure enough, they ran into a fierce eastern wind. For days the ship was tossed on tempestuous seas, and the crew had lost all hope of surviving the storm. After days of silence, Paul finally spoke up, “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve” (Acts 27:23). The angel of God “stood by” Paul and spoke with him. The angel told Paul to “fear not” because there would be no loss of life. In turn, Paul exhorted his shipmates to rejoice in his revelation from the angel.
The Book of Acts details how angels were directly involved in the Early Church. Angels guided Phillip (8:26), directed Cornelius (10:5), delivered Peter (12:7–11), and smote Herod (12:23). While caution should be exercised in speculating about the activity of angels today, equal appreciation should be given to their excellent ministry to us who are still alive. Seeking to “de-mysticize” the Christian life, there are many who would remove all mystery from the Bible. I understand full well the danger of going overboard in the mystical, which Scripture warns against. But there is the equivalent danger of depleting the miraculous element from faith as well.
With that said, aren’t you glad that God has assigned angels to you as one who has received salvation? The invisible activity taking place in the spiritual realm is profound. We understand that demon forces are assaulting God’s purposes and God’s people. The sacred text is replete with examples of spiritual warfare. With all these fierce battles raging, how encouraging it is to know that Satan is a defeated foe (Col. 2:15). He may not be banished from the field yet, but we are more than conquerors through Christ (Rom. 8:37). “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57)!
We may not be fully aware of how angels are assisting us, but we can still rejoice that they are aiding us through our lives. Who can tell the tragedies that have been averted? Or the blessings that have been bestowed? Or the strength that has been imparted through these heavenly agents who have been assigned to us?
- Does your faith have a miraculous element to it?
- Aren’t you glad that God has assigned angels to you as one who has received salvation?
- Are you resting in the victory that God has given you through Jesus Christ?
Taken from “Extraordinary Strength in Adversity” by Harold Vaughan.
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