The Bible is rich with stories featuring angels. They are depicted as celestial ministering spirits. For example, in the Old Testament, we can read:
Exodus 23:20-21a – See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. (NIV)
In a discourse about little children, Jesus is quoted as saying:
Matthew 18:10 – See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (NIV)
Hamza Hassan, from Saudi Arabia, recently wrote this story from his childhood memories and e-mailed it to me:
- One event stood out in my life and took place in the north of Sudan in 1982 when we were only ten years old. My twin brother and I were coming home from school. We had to cross a narrow bridge built over a deep lake. All of a sudden, my brother slipped, fell into the lake, and began to sink. I was hysterically screaming and running back and forth, looking for someone to rescue the situation. After what seemed like an eternity and when I was about to jump into the lake to die with my brother, an angel of mercy came out of nowhere and saved his life.
The angel, I think, was not a human being, because after I got my brother back to life, the rescuer was nowhere to be found. I combed the area for his track but to no avail.
It was a turning point in my life. Since that horrible day, I decided to learn the art of swimming no matter what. And within several months, I became a professional swimmer. For years later, I used to walk by the beach and watch over the children who swam happily with excitement. I wanted to be grateful for my brother's life. I wanted to be ready for emergencies. I wanted to be an angel of mercy for somebody else.
In reading a true story such as Hamza's, we are profoundly blessed to read about a child's life saved through angelic help. One life was spared and another greatly changed through a celestial being coming to the rescue — an angel of mercy.
We sometimes speak of people who reach out compassionately to help others during a crisis as "angels of mercy". We may never see a celestial angel, but Hassan's story may bring to mind human "angels of mercy" who have touched our lives. They may have been especially kind to us when we have had some special need. Poverty may have travelled with us. Loneliness may have saddened our days. Grief from the loss of someone dear may have settled like a dark cloud over our lives. Then, along has come our human "angel of mercy", that compassionate soul who saw our need and responded with mercy and helpfulness. Such ministering human "angels" reveal God's love and light our path in how to live God's way as He has shown us in Jesus Christ. Their action may change us to be more like Jesus.
And when our eyes are open to see with God's eyes of mercy, He will help us to be alert for occasions to seize opportunities to be "angels of mercy" for those who urgently need our help. Perhaps this very day, such a need will arise before us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us eyes that recognize the needs of others, whether they are nearby or far away, for each life is precious. Help us to love with Your kind of love. Teach us to reach out generously and be willing to take risks to bring others that God kind of love. Amen.