Monday, January 7, 2013

My encounter with an Angel

Psalm 91:11 – 12 (HCSB) “For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

It’s so comforting to know that Jesus sends his angels to watch over us. We all walk through various “seasons” in our life. Some good and others we feel are downright impossible. As a Christian, I know I can rejoice and find peace during the more difficult times because I know the God who created the universe loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), has a purpose for my life (Jeremiah 29:11),and will use the tough times to bring good according to his purposes (Romans 8:28). Because I know this, I can be comforted in the fact that I’m being guarded during the tough times by His heavenly angels.

In December of 2010, I believe with all my heart God chose to reveal the words of Psalm 91:11 to me by sending an angel to help me in a time of desperate need. I had gone into a local retail chain for what was supposed to be a “reward” purchase for my 5 year old son. That week, he successfully completed 5 days of getting ready for school on time, and stayed on “green light” at school. My son’s behavior was improving, and the trip to Target was the motivator. Well that was at least until we began to negotiate the rules of the reward.

I told my son he could choose from any toy $10 or under. I felt this was a reasonable price to reward his efforts for listening to both me and his teacher. Of course his eyes were drawn to the bigger toys right in front of him on the shelf. Retailers are great marketers, putting the most expensive toys at a 5 year old's eye level is a brilliant sales tactic (of course as a mother of a very strong-willed child I have to disagree.)

As he searched, he pointed to things that were clearly out of the reward limit. Each time, I showed him toys in his price range but as I did this the angrier he became. He wanted something different, more expensive - a bigger reward. At this point his behavior became something not worth ANY reward. Seeing enough, I told him we were leaving immediately and to follow me out of the store. It would have been so nice if he would have just cooperated. But he didn’t. His tantrum got worse and he began to yell and scream. I would love to tell you that I remained calm and walked my tantrum-driven child out of the store - but I didn’t. 

My blood pressure shot through the roof. I needed help and I needed it right then! Turning to the best parent I knew I prayed

“Father, I have no idea what to do in this situation. I don’t want to respond to his anger with anger. I can’t control his hitting and kicking me – he’s too strong for me to pick up and carry out of here. Help me because I have no clue.”

I began what seemed to be a full-fledged pilgrimage to the front of the store. Every step I took I thought “Lord please help me to my car so I can get this kid home and deal with him there.” My son stood there, mid-isle, yelling at the top of his lungs. I just kept walking and praying. When I got too far from my son’s comfort zone, he ran after me always keeping me in eye shot. This minute long walk from the toy isle to the front of the store seemed like a trek across the Sahara desert. Finally, I could see an end to the journey, the automatic doors were opening and my car was just across the crosswalk.

In a last ditch effort to stop me from getting out of the store, my son attached himself to my leg and wouldn’t let go. Walking, as you can well imagine, was next to impossible.

“Ah Lord. Again I have no clue here. I need your help right now.” 

With every ounce of energy I could muster, I began to drag my son toward the automatic doors. Stopping just before the sidewalk, I asked him to get up and walk to the car warning him that if I had to drag him it ruin his clothes and give him a bad case of road rash. He didn’t flinch.

As I stood there, 5 year old still attached, I tried to calm myself down by people watching. All types of thoughts ran through my head. I felt inadequate as a parent, completely out of control, and like everyone was looking at me. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I really wanted to leave Target and never return. Negativity swirled. “Lord, please help!”

I believe He did just that. In the next few moments, my attention was distracted by a man exiting the building carrying a single gallon of milk. “Huh? Who goes to a big retailer for one gallon of milk? On a good day, I can’t get out of here for less than $100?” My eyes followed this man across the crosswalk. “Odd.” My focus returned to my son but the thought lingered.

I tried once again to get my son to the car but before I could respond to his outburst, I heard “Ma’am, do you need help with something?” turning I came face to face with the milk guy. 

“I noticed you were having a hard time, can I stand with your son so you can go get your car?” The words coming out of this man’s mouth were so filled with compassion. The situation turned from pure chaos to peace in an instant. I didn’t give it a thought when I replied “that would be so helpful, thank you”. With that, I broke free from the 5-year old appendage and walked the remaining 15 steps to my car.

The man didn’t lay one finger on my son. He just stood there trying to talk to him. When I pulled up with the car, I jumped out to open the rear door. The man helped my son into the car and before he shut the door he said “Son, listen to your mother they always know what’s best for us, ok.” With that, he shut the door.

Trying to process what had just happened, I felt 100% at peace. I am convinced this man was an angel. God sent him to “intervene” in this situation, and for that I am thankful.

What about you? Have you ever experienced something odd like this in the midst of a difficult situation? Perhaps it was someone just saying an encouraging word, or showing up when no one else should be there.

Be encouraged today. God is with us.

Related reading
1 Kings 19:5, Daniel 6:22, Matthew 18:10, Luke 16:22, Acts 12:7)

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