Angels are everywhere! I love it when it is obvious, they are following ME!
I shivered as a snow front began to blast the East closing schools and businesses. Reclining on my fluffy heated mattress pad and watching through my blinds, I hoped it would pass, yet I knew we were in its path. My head ducked under the covers. “Lord, it’s coming, I know. Please don’t let it be a wet, heavy snow, the kind that breaks power lines and causes outages.”
“Thank you, Lord.”
Skeptics and worse may believe this blanket of dry snow, which was predicted to be wet, is a coincidence, but I believe God is the Lord, our Provider. The Psalmist writes: “For He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all of your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” This verse is from my favorite Psalm, 91. Some Christians call it a “covering” prayer. I memorized it in a warmer time, early spring, 2014, around 300 words, reciting it almost daily. The passage made me more cognizant of angels . . . and demons, and the spiritual realm that I’m convinced interacts with us more than we can imagine.
On snow covered days like today, and often, I wonder: How is the spiritual world working in my life?
Just weeks after memorizing this Psalm, I got a lesson in Angelology 401.
It started on a road trip to Rugby, Tennessee, a lovely, restored Victorian community, settled on the lush Cumberland Plateau. Rugby’s restoration was founded in 1966 by my husband’s brother Brian, now deceased, so we’re family when we’re in Rugby. Our friends Cat and Dan were along for the trip with Alan and me. We’d told them about Rugby, how the original settlers came in the 1800’s, how a fabulous little library of Victorian literature was housed within the community, knowing Cat, a writer, would particularly enjoy it.
It was May, one of my favorite times of the year, and certainly my favorite in Rugby. The community’s Spring Festival was underway. People milled about the colorful church and buildings that lined either side of old Route 52. English buildings with names like Kingston Lyle, The Board of Aid, Percy Cottage, and The Commissary.
Open air tents were perched on the front lawns of the buildings where artisans sold glassware, jewelry, woodwork, stained glass and other handmade crafts. The festival goers and the artisans were sparser than usual, but a lively group walked about the grounds, along the charming wooden sidewalk, and near the two-lane, which split the community.
Alan, Dan, Cat, and I had just left the library and were headed to the church on the other side of the road. We chatted as I led our foursome down a slope into the ditch that paralleled the road. Navigating the downward pitch on the ditch and back up, I obviously underestimated the thickness of the pavement. The toe of my shoe caught the lofty edge of the blacktop.
I saw it happening—that slow motion thing people talk about. With no time to pull up my hands or arms to break myself, I fell forward on the asphalt. Hard. Fast. Nose first. Blackness smashed my face like an unsuspecting two-punch. It was a split second that felt as fatalistic as anything I’d ever experienced.
Stunned, my mind raced as thoughts dashed this way, that way . . . I won’t be making the Jamaican trip we’re planning with Matthew. Our grandson. Will I need plastic surgery? Have I been here seconds or hours?
At some point I decided that my mind still worked, a good thing. Where was everyone? Did they notice I fell? The longer I laid there, it seemed I was loitering. (Yes, that’s the word that came to mind.) I imagined what my face looked like, no contender for the hard, rough surface. My glasses were probably smashed to smithereens, along with my nose, cheekbones, and who knew what else.
Alan had been behind me. Our friends Cat and Dan. Where was everyone?
Finally, Alan nudged me. “Karyn, honey . . .” His voice sounded unusually anxious. Later I learned he hated to turn me over, afraid of what he’d see. “Talk to me.”
Move. I have to turn and move. A car pulled up, stopping on the road. People spoke, but the words were mumbled. Alan rubbed my back. “Honey.”
He turned me over gently, looking at me a little too intently. “Are you okay?”
Still stunned, I couldn’t yet speak, but I was puzzled. Was I okay? I wasn’t sure. A woman came over, though I didn’t turn to see her. “I’m a first responder,” she said. “How do you feel?’
A first responder. I’d never needed one of those before. “I . . . I don’t know,” I heard myself say.
“You don’t look bad,” said Alan. “It’s not as bad as you think.”
How did he know what I was thinking? But he was right. Do I look like a Freddy Kruger victim? I wondered. Am I blood splattered? Yet no one turned in horror and Alan’s expression revealed nothing diabolical.
“She has to get some ice on that,” said the woman. “I’ve got something.” She turned to leave.
“My glasses?” I asked, realizing they weren’t on my face.
“They’re on top of your head.”
“I can use a new pair anyway.”
“They appear fine,” Alan said.
“Really?” I was wearing them when I fell. How did they get atop my head? He was mistaken. They had to be smashed.
Voices and someone exiting the car caused me to turn. Cat was talking to Thelma, (not her real name) an old family friend who’d cleaned my stepson’s weekend home, where we’d stayed. It was her car on the road.
I placed my hand to my nose. “I really don’t look awful?”
“No. I swear. I can’t believe it. The bridge and the tip of your nose are red and scrapped, but not bloody. That’s it.”
That’s not possible. I turned toward the car. Thelma was looking over at me. “Good job on the house, Thelma.” I sort of waved. If I wasn’t bloodied or half dead, it was time to move. Thelma walked toward us as Alan helped me up. I felt dizzy and completely unstable.
“You okay, honey?” she asked.
I stood for a moment, amazed that I could. “I think so.”
Nobody appeared to have called an ambulance. That and the fact that I could move were good signs. I hugged Thelma.
“I hope I did a good job on the house,” she said.
“You did. Thanks for cleaning it.” I must look okay or she wouldn’t be talking about the house.
Alan got on one side of me and Cat on the other. I was wobbly, but I didn’t feel hospital ready. We baby-stepped to the wooden rungs of Rugby’s gingerbread-like Episcopal Church. The first responder brought an ice cold bottled papaya drink in a towel since her ice had melted. Alan held it to my face. “I can do that,” I said, taking it from him.
A few people stopped to ask how I was. No one could believe my face didn’t look like it had been smashed by the front end of a dump truck. I knew the ferocity of the fall. I felt it. How did my nose, glasses, and cheekbones survive a forward, full-throttle assault? It wasn’t humanly possible.
Yet it was spiritually possible.
About two seconds.” He looked at me lovingly, and like he was seeing a miracle.
When he left, I thanked God for the marvelous angel who’d softened my descent. My eyelids fluttered. It was midday, but all I wanted was to sleep, and dream. “For He will give His angels charge over you.” Had Psalm 91 made the difference? Had this “covering” prayer covered me, keeping me safe? The fall had shocked me, my body needing to rest and recover, but come evening, makeup dabbled around and over the bridge of my nose masked my redness. In less than a week, I was normal.
The incident humbled me, especially after seeing pictures of two Facebook friends who had similar falls. Looking at their battered, purple, and swollen photos, I knew this should have been me. Both required ambulances, hospital care, and a fairly lengthy recuperation. Before I fell, I’d never heard a story of someone falling like this.
However, another baffling episode lay ahead. It would leave me equally befuddled and amazed.
It was just over a month later, late one evening. I was making a cup of magnesium tea, topping the cup of magnesium powder with boiling water. Except on this night, distracted by my cat, I poured the roiling liquid over my hand. I shrieked and Alan came running.
“Put your hand under cold water!” He flipped on the tap and my hand was immediately soothed. Five, eight, ten minutes . . . every time I pulled it out, my skin felt like it was on fire.
Since it was near bedtime, I began to concoct standing sleep scenarios and prayed a simple prayer, “Lord, help this to heal. I really need you to do it now. Thank you, Lord.” Something like that.
As long as my hand was under cold running water, it felt okay, but outside the water, the fieriness erupted. I kept thinking, “How will I sleep?” Finally, I dried my hand and slathered on one and then several oils and lotions, hoping to find something to help. I tried to settle in bed, blowing on it, shaking it. Nothing worked. Before I returned to the cold water, I prayed earnestly: “Lord, I need you to heal this now. I didn’t sleep last night and tonight will be terrible if you don’t intervene. I’d be eternally grateful if you’d have mercy on me.” I ended as I usually did—believing. “Thank you for healing me, Lord, and for always answering my prayers.” And almost that quick, the pain left.
It didn’t burn, it didn’t hurt. Until a few minutes later, I laid back on the bed to consider, “Maybe that water didn’t boil as long as I thought.”
As quickly as the thought formed, the pain returned. (How stupid am I?) But, I repented and it left. No need to repent again, I’d learned my lesson. That night, like the afternoon of my fall, I slept peacefully, and my hand never again hurt.
What happened was clearly beyond the laws of physics. Once again, I felt thankful and humbled. God is no respecter of people, I knew. He won’t do something for me that He won’t do for you. Yet, all I could think was, why now and why me? On numerous occasions I’d asked to be healed of illnesses or pain and nothing happened. Perhaps, I pondered, angels only deal with wounds rather than sickness. But the “Why” word was stuck in my head.
I kept going back to Psalm 91. Was I now dwelling in the secret place of the Most High God like the Psalm suggests? All I knew for sure was that I’d been delivered on two occasions. Perhaps in my daily recitation of Psalm 91, I was dispatching angels and dispelling demons.
Just as I have never been able to determine which prayers God fully answers, I don’t understand the Why in these situations. But I speculate that angels were dispatched because my trust is in Jehovah Jireh, the Lord my provider, and Jehovah Rophe, the Lord my healer. And on one afternoon and one evening, He had taken me under His feathers. Today, in this very real blustering snowstorm, as I press up to a fire roaring up the chimney, comforted, warmed, and full, I’m reminded, He’s always with me.
No matter how bad the storm, how hard the fall, or how hot the water.
“Thank you, Lord.” xxx
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him will I trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your habitation,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 They shall bear you up in their hands,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”