I believe we are blessed, because of God's love for us, with the opportunity be angels. We become instruments in God's hand, carrying his love forward to his children, and having an opportunity to love each other in a way that is more deep, more intense, than could be otherwise. I want to quickly teach you what I've learned from these angels -
1. Acknowledge pain - ours and others. Storyteller Kevin Kling says, "You can't judge another man's pain." Isn't it interesting that when we talk about wounds, pain, he with the most pain wins?! Philip Yancey in his amazing book, Where is God When it Hurts, says, "Pain is not God's great goof. The sensation of pain is a gift - the gift that nobody wants. More than anything, pain should be viewed as a communication network." (21)
As angels, our role is to let the Holy Spirit guide - listen to the still, quiet voice. Those we care for may ask, "Where is God?" The answer is, "He is in us; he is not in the things that hurt us." Be available - 100% for the time you've set aside to angel - be present.
Philip Yancey writes, "Is God somehow responsible for the suffering of this world? In this indirect way, yes. But giving a child a pair of ice skates, knowing that he may fall, is a very different matter from knocking him down on the ice." (56) Don't discount someone's aching - regardless of how it compares to yours.
2. Explore pain - How can "we" get through this pain? What is the cause of the pain? Has there been an accident, an illness, a life-change that is at the root of the pain? It does not matter if the pain is chosen or inflicted, it is still pain, and angels do not judge. Emotions such as anger, loss, guilt, fear, frustration, and insecurity raise their heads and can complicate an already existing or healing pain, but take a look around at the pain, be inquisitive but not nosey. One of the biggest comforts I've received from my angels is the knowledge that I do not have to go this journey alone. "We can do this," and then committing to traveling with me, if only for a short time is a great gift. Time - support.
As Angels we can assist the Spirit by being companions to the wounded, that doesn't mean we, and only we, have to walk the entire path with them, but we can get on the path for a moment, walk, move off, and allow another to come on. We can return, as is necessary, but it is the act of serving that is the essence of an Angel. Angels listen as much as they do. And in listening, we can offer others the opportunity to hear themselves clearly. And I suggest in listening, we wait out the silence - because after the silence often comes the profound.
3. Can this be an opportunity for growth? Romans 5:3-5 teaches, "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Angels do not discount the journey. Suffering produces something - it has value; it changes us. According to Yancey, "We are not put on earth merely to satisfy our desires, to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. We are here to be changed, to be made more like God in order to prepare us for a lifetime with him. And that process may be served by the mysterious pattern of all creation: pleasure sometimes emerges against a background of pain . . . and suffering may produce something of value."
The Savior said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). Many carry heavy burdens, and yet our Savior gives us this invitation. He also taught there would be trials and tribulations in this world, but that we should "be of good cheer" because He has "overcome the world" (John 16:33). We are likewise promised that the Lord will strengthen us so we can bear our burdens "with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord" (Mosiah 24:15).
Just as we love our children beyond measure and would do ANYTHING for them, the Lord loves us with an even deeper, unfathomable love. As impossible as it may seem, He does know our thoughts and feelings and is keenly aware of our needs. He could send legions of angels if He desired, but He uses us as His angels because it blesses both the giver and the receiver. What a wise and loving Father. Nothing in the gospel plan is without a reason, a reason that helps us to learn what we need to know to return to Him.
I know there are angels, sent from the Lord, to care for me. I know I am an angel sent to care for loved ones. It is the process, it is the plan. We are so tightly woven together that we must care, we must reach out, we must bring comfort and joy. And as Angels we are privy to seeing those miracles.
May you find your Angelic purpose in your errands this season -