A knock tapped on the apartment door. At my current age I would ignore the knock, but at 21, newly married, in a new town without friends, someone at my door piqued my interest. I stood on my tiptoes and peered out the peephole. Shifting my gaze downward, I saw two small children. I opened the door.
“Hello. Are you lost?” I asked.
Ignoring my question, the four-ish year old girl stated, “We’re thirsty.”
“Oh!” I said, “Where’s your mommy?” I asked.
I don’t remember their answering me, just another, “We’re thirsty.”
“Okay. Just a minute, I’ll get you a drink,” and moved to the galley kitchen three steps away to prepare two small glasses with water and ice.
The children stepped over the threshold and watched.
“Here you are,” I said and handed each a glass. They gulped them down with heavy breaths between swallows as young children do, then sighed, silently handing their cups back to me.
“Would you like some more?” I asked, wondering what these young children were doing wandering about an apartment complex by themselves.
“My tummy hurts,” the little boy blurted out. He rubbed his stomach.
I thought of Pepto Bismal but quickly dismissed that thought. An idea popped in my head. “I’ll be right back. Wait here, please.” I rushed to the bathroom and fished out a bandaid, then returned to the children still standing just inside the open door.
The boy rubbed his stomach again, causing his shirt to ride up over his hand, revealing the pristine belly of a child. I tore open the wrapper and pulled the protective strips then pressed the bandaid onto his stomach above his bellybutton.
“There! A bandaid for your boo-boo,” though there was none to be seen.
The boy smiled as he looked down to inspect my work. Then, without a word, the children turned and ran off to who knows where.
The oddness of the experience unsettled me but also thrilled me. My husband used our only car to drive to the Army post where he worked, so I spent my days alone in an apartment situated on a on a rural road near a highway. The views from our windows looked on an alleyway and a parking lot. I had no car, no friends, no view, and nowhere to go. I lived for my husband’s arrival after his fourteen hour days and struggled with depression while he worked.
I remembered a verse about angels visiting unawares and searched for it the old fashioned way. I found it!
Hebrews 13:1b-2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
I remembered another verse, Matthew 25:37b, 38. 40,
“‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
My heart burned with warm, comforting flames. Even now tears build unbidden when I recall those two children. Were they angels? I don’t know. Angels in the Bible usually appeared clothed in white and in the form of men, but the words, “unawares” and “least of these,” from those two verses make me wonder. I know I needed human interaction, and God blessed me with it.
When Jesus fasted in the wilderness, isolated and warring against Satan, angels came and ministered to Him (Mark 1:13). The angels in the wilderness remind me of an angel in 1 Kings 19: 4-8 who touched Elijah and told him to eat, and provided him a baked cake and jar of water. He ran from Jezebel and Ahab after besting and destroying their false priests. Had Jesus’ confrontation with Satan exhausted Him as Elijah’s confrontation did? Did these angels bring Jesus food and drink too? An angel again ministered to Jesus on the Mount of Olives, as He struggled with the pending burdens of the sins of the world and the cross. (Luke 22:43)
I lack understanding of angels and shy from studying them. I don’t want them to distract me from seeking God with my whole heart. I do know that God uses angels as His messengers to give information, strength and protection. (Hebrew 1:14, Psalm 91:11) (2 Kings 6:15-17) I’ve heard many tales of miraculous protection and the disappearance of the defenders. I suspect God sent angels to rescue me several times in my accident-prone childhood.
During our stints in the wilderness when exhaustion, discouragement and loneliness overwhelm us, I believe God dispatches His servants, angels, to minister to us. They are God’s hands at work to aid us physically, mentally and spiritually. Did God send two angels in the form of children to my door? I can’t say for sure, but I am convinced that God sends help when we need it most. Scripture after scripture affirms His active care for us. We may not recognize the form in which His care is delivered, but we can count on God to send us what we really need when we need it.