Friday, October 1, 2010

The Ministering of Angels

This post is a long time in coming, so hopefully I can remember everything that I wanted to say.  It's been quite a hectic week, and I haven't had the time I wanted to be able to pull my thoughts together, but I will do my best.

On Sunday, one of the members of the congregation gave a talk on faith, but she focused her comments on the ministering of angels.  In the Bible and Book of Mormon, there are accounts of angels appearing and directly ministering to many different people, such as the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary to announce the upcoming birth of Christ.

As she was speaking, I started to think to myself.  "Wouldn't it be something, if an angel were to appear to me?  Then I could know that everything was true."  But, as is shown all throughout the scriptures, God asks us to "walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)  We have to exercise our faith even though we may not have seen all things, and act according to the things we have come to understand.

So often in life, there are times when I've felt that I could really use an angel right by my side, wielding the sword of God and taking away all my troubles and woes.  As I was thinking about those times, the speaker brought up a wonderful account given in 2 Kings 6:15-17. 

"And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

"And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

As she read through and talked about this account, it really struck home deep within me.  How often do we find ourselves looking at a situation in life, wondering how we will ever make do or come out on top, and begin to despair?  I know that I have been there several times myself.  But all we need to do is remember that God is always on our side, and that "they that be with us" truly are "more than they that be with them."

An overwhelming feeling of peace and comfort filled me as I pondered the fact that maybe during all those times when I needed help, that I had received it.  Just because I hadn't opened my eyes to see the strength and support that was there doesn't mean that God hadn't given it to me.

Sometimes in life, the "angels" that God sends to us are not necessarily unseen messengers from heaven, but can often be those people around us.  A smile from a stranger, a conversation with a good friend, or a comment of praise from a mentor can be a saving grace from many a difficult day.

One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is in Alma chapter 29.  Alma was a wonderful missionary, but felt, as I think everyone does, that sometimes his good deeds went unnoticed, or at very least unheeded.  He writes, "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!"

I feel that there have been several times that I could have been a "ministering angel" to someone in their time of need.  I don't say that to vaunt myself, but merely to point out the fact that we do not always know the significance of our actions.  We never know how much we can bless someone's life with the small things that we do.

God is watching over us in all that we do, and He knows exactly what kind of help we stand in need of.  Knowing that we do have ministering angels, both seen and unseen, who are sent to watch over us and guide us is such a reassuring, comforting thing to me.  All I have to do is remember those times that there is absolutely no reason or way that I should have been able to come out of a situation the way I did, and I feel so much of God's love for me.

I hope that we all can open our eyes more fully, "that we may see."  As we do so, we will recognize the hand of God in our lives, and know of the ministering angels, mortal or otherwise, that He has and will send to us.

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