Do angels exist? I’m not talking about your grandmother or the person that let you cut in line at the grocery. I’m talking about the messengers of God, the beings who give guidance, protection, care and comfort to us lowly humans. I’m talking about God’s army or angels.
I’ve never encountered an angel…at least not to my knowledge. Have you? The Bible is loaded with them, but I’ve never given much thought as to how they relate to my life. But this week they are becoming a little more real to me.
My friend, Becky, was hesitant, but I encouraged her to tell us about her beach angel experience. Here’s is what she shared.
I grew up in a coastal town with a beautiful harbor and a mountain which graced it’s entrance. On the outer side of the harbor, the mountain connected to a 20 mile long surf beach.
I was brought up in the church and, at the age of eight, I gave my heart to the Lord at a large evangelical meeting. I didn’t totally understand what I had done and didn’t follow up on it much.
Witnessing the Spirit at Work…I Want It !
As I grew into a teenager I became rebellious, but I found God again through my older brother. He had accepted Christ into his life and I could see the love of the Holy Spirit shining through and into his life. I desperately wanted this change in my life also.
I started attending the Baptist church that my brother was attending and, at age 18, I decided to be baptized. In the Baptist church, baptism is by full emersion and it was the most incredible feeling. As I came up out of the water, I felt the Holy Spirit fill me. My old life was washed away; I was born again; and I felt God’s power running through me.
But I Have Questions !
My close girlfriend (who was baptized the same day), my brother and I were enthusiastic to learn more about and serve the Lord. But as the months passed, we became disillusioned with our church. We were not getting the growth and mentoring that we needed to deepen and mature our faith. Our questions were not being answered.
We had to rely on each other and frequently prayed together believing that “where two or three are gathered, there I am also”. And Jesus was there, leading us through some wonderful spiritual experiences, including the gift of tongues.
Ascending the Mountain
One sunny, winter afternoon, the 3 of us, climbed part way up the harbor mountain to a grassy hill overlooking the ocean and the beach. We desperately asked God what we should do about our unsatisfying church experience. We had stopped going and felt that perhaps the Spirit could lead us through life. But were we doing the right thing?
An Angel at the Beach
After about an hour, we descended on a path that took us to the beginning of the beach and led into a rocky area close to the base of the mountain. There was a beautiful long white beach in the other direction.
My brother and my girlfriend walked to the local shops and I went down onto the beach near the rocks. I walked towards the water, still silently praying that God would give me some direction. Should I continue to attend church or should I leave the church that was not fulfilling my needs and be guided solely by the Holy Spirit without any Christian fellowship?
Due to the cooler weather, the beach was deserted. Or so I thought. But as I walked towards the water I noticed a man standing not far from me. He was possibly in his late 40’s or 50’s, with light brown hair slightly balding. He was of average height and build and smiled as I approached him.
I had always been a shy girl and never would normally have started a conversation with a stranger, but somehow when this man spoke to me I felt only calm and comfortable speaking with him. I do not remember the whole conversation but I know that we began speaking about the Lord almost immediately.
I explained to him that my friends and I had been praying on the side of the mountain; that we were dissatisfied with our church; and that we had asked the Lord if we were right to leave our church and be led solely by the Holy Spirit. Right away he answered me, looking deep into my eyes and said; “You are doing the right thing”. I felt like God was speaking to me…it was so profound and touched my very soul. After this we said goodbye and I turned to walk away.
After only a few steps I turned to glance at him, as it had been such a special encounter. I expected to see him still there, or to see his back as he started to walk in the opposite direction. But there was no one there. The rocks were too far away for him to have reached them in such a short time but I walked to the nearest, largest rock and looked behind it. There was no one anywhere.
I knew than that God had sent an angel to answer my fervent prayers and give me unquestionable direction. I was to live my life, following only the direction of the Holy Spirit.
This was a great faith building experience; knowing that God was listening to me, heard my cries and cared about my path. Ever since then I have trusted that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing in this life, even though it was not a typical Christian life. In hindsight, I look back and know that God was shaping me and molding me for his purpose.
This was a life-altering experience for Becky. God had sent her a messenger in response to her heart-felt fervent prayer. The kind of prayer that God responded to for Pastor Tim and his sister, and for me.
A Follow Up Note From Becky:
I did eventually find a close relationship with the Lord and a wonderful church, however, it was many years later. Living life guided only by the Holy Spirit is not right for everyone, but this is how God spoke to me and he did keep me close and was molding and shaping me, unbeknownst to me at the time.
Dad’s After Death Message
Becky’s story stimulated my mind on the subject of angels, which reminded me to take a look at my journal of spiritual experiences and growth. (I recommend you start one if you haven’t already.) I found this.
My dad died in 2010. Although he had always gone to church and read the Bible, especially during his final years on earth, I didn’t know for sure that he had accepted Christ into his life. Maybe he was a Christian by habit. It isn’t something we talked about and it is nearly impossible to really know another persons heart. But 2 weeks after dad died, I was walking down the hall in my home, when I heard tinkling bells and my mind was struck with a line from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life ‘Every time a bell rings, and angel gets his wings’. I could find no physical source of bells, inside or outside. I knew this was my father.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Part of the story in It’s a Wonderful Life was of an Angel 2nd Class who wanted to earn his wings. To do so he had to prevent the main character, George, from committing suicide, which he was able to thwart. At the end of the movie, a bell on a Christmas tree rang and George’s small daughter, Zuzu, tells everyone that ‘Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings’. The implication was that the life-saving angel had been rewarded.
What I found out this week was that the angel in the movie had the same name as my dad…Clarence. In 2010, I was aware that my father sent me a message addressing my concern about his presence in God’s Kingdom. But when I realized the connection between his name and the movie angel’s name, I was amazed by how specific he had been about being an angel.
My dad always liked to joke around. It’s just like him to give me a message based on one of his favorite movies and then wait for me to figure it all out. Thus, I have to believe that we keep at least some of our personality in the next life.
So do I believe in angels? Between what Becky has shared and what my father has conveyed from heaven, I have to.
How about you? Have you had an angel experience? Please leave a comment.
For the angels are only spirit-messengers of God sent out to help and care for those who are to receive His salvation. Hebrews 1:14