Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanking God for the Help of Angels

“Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”

~Matthew 4:11 (NIV, 2010).

After Jesus’ temptation by Satan, angels attend. He would’ve been aware. Yet, we’re hardly ever aware of angels’ presence and their bidding on our behalves, but it is a biblical reality that they assist us at our and God’s behest.

This is nothing about the ‘angels’ in skin that assist us in the process of living. They too do God’s bidding, justly at our stead, but what’s in sharp focus right here and right now is the supernatural host of angels, and particularly perhaps thought of guardian angels (Thomas Aquinas).

The Character of Supernatural Help

It shouldn’t surprise us to note that help from God via the angels of heaven is scores higher in efficacy of help than any worldly help. These are two different realms of value. Without doubt, we do need our worldly help, but it can’t compare with the will of God discharged supernaturally.

Faith is the instrument that truly energises this supernatural help. It is virtue melded with the unconventional way that sees us truly beckon the angels of heaven to our need.

The Allure of the Angels

Angels and heavenly beings in general capture our imagination. They cannot help but do this. Anything that’s truly other-worldly stands us up in our tracks.

Some people have seen or have even met angels, whether that be in their dreams (like Jacob in Genesis 28), or actually, via our conscious experience. Others have heard the audible voice of God or angels (in their role as messengers for God). Others still are made aware in other ways of the direct hand of God.

These are privileged experiences and truly nothing can compare with them, or prepare us for them.

Recognising the Angels’ Role in Helping

There is a great deal of hope present in the idea that we’re helped beyond the agency of the things or energies of this world.

It’s like we don’t need to worry so much about ‘engineering’ our own way, for God has plans for us, to prosper us and for our future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Being agents of God we can be assured that the love resplendent of the angels is typecast in their method. The godly angels have no motive for us but good.

Part of our role, then, is recognising when and how the angels of the Lord are present in situations—and just how the Holy Spirit is arranging life. We have two stated response behaviours. Firstly, we’re personally blessed with a piqued awareness of this fact. Secondly, we’re responding with intrinsic thanks, for no one who’s ever aware of the angels’ agency is ever going to do anything other than be awed.

We don’t thank the angels. We thank God. We thank the Divine.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Further Reading: Millard J. Erickson, “God’s Special Agents: Angels” (Chapter 21) in Christian Theology - Second Edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1998), pp. 457-75.

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