…she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness…When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush.  Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away.  “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears.   

But God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid!”…Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water.  She quickly filled her container and gave the boy a drink.    ~ Genesis 21:14-19

This morning, I listened intently to the radio as someone called in to ask for prayer for a woman his wife met last night.  His wife was at a McDonald’s when she saw a woman crying in her car.  The man’s wife approached the crying woman to ask if there was anything she could do to help.  The crying woman ‘fell apart’, explaining that she’d taken her boys and driven all night and all day and now found herself at this McDonald’s.  Apparently she was fleeing a bad situation.  The two women prayed and then the helping woman felt God leading her to give the crying woman her money, so she gave all she had with her.  They prayed again and the helping woman left.   She called her husband on her way home to tell him what had happened.  By the time she arrived home, the husband said he felt it strongly on his heart that they had to find the woman.  They found the woman and her boys sleeping in their car in the parking lot of a motel, which was next to the McDonald’s parking lot.  They took the woman and her boys inside the motel and paid for a night’s stay for them, providing them with a safe place for a good night’s sleep.   The radio host asked if the man would like to lead listeners in prayer.  The man did so with a wonderful prayer that asked for God to continue to be with this woman and her boys.  

The man and his wife didn’t know where the woman had come from or what her situation was, but they knew God was calling on them to give her aid.  God seemed to be using them as angels on earth.  

The man’s story of what happened reminded me of a few stories in the Bible when God sent angels to tend to those in need. God sent an angel to to Elijah when he was discouraged and fleeing for his life (1 Kings 19:3-8).  The angel gave him food for the journey that would take him an encounter with God.  A vison of angels came to Jacob on his journey as he fled from his angry brother to go to the land of his Uncle Laban. (Genesis 28:10-22).   Angels tended to Hagar twice – once when she sought to escape harsh treatment from Sarah (Genesis 16:7-16) and again when Hagar was sent away with her son Ishmael (Genesis 21:8-20); and we know angels tended to Jesus after his time in the wilderness with Satan (Matthew 4:11).      NOTE:  There are other accounts of angels in the Bible. 

In each of these stories, God sent angels to give aid and encouragement to those in need.   The angels gave aid for the immediate physical needs of the people, but it was the encouragement of encountering angels sent by God that gave the greatest aid.  

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (HIBD) defines angels as, “Created beings whose primary function is to serve and worship God.”    The HIBD also says angels not only carry out God’s messages to people, they also carry out God’s will as He directs them.  Hebrews 1:14 confirms that angels do service to believers but by God’s will and under his direction.   “Therefore, angels are only servants – spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.”   Hebrews 1:14  (NLT)             (NOTE:  The HIBD says more about angels on pages 66 & 67.)      

The story shared on the radio about the man and his wife who gave aid to a woman and her boys, who seemed to be in desperate need, is just one example of how I believe God still sends angels.  Yes, the woman and her sons needed money, food and shelter, but more than that they needed to encounter God.  They needed the assurance that God was with them.  The benefits of food and shelter are temporary, but the encouragement received from an encounter with God through the help of strangers will last forever! 

Dear God, Thank you for loving us and caring for us enough to send angels when we need You.   I pray for all who are in situations like the woman found at McDonald’s.  Please continue to be with them, watch over them, and provide for them.  I pray that all who need You will experience You in wonderful ways, giving them the encouragement needed to continue on their journeys; and please, if there is a way I can be a blessing for someone else, show me how.  I pray these things hoping for glory and honor in Your name.  To You my Heavenly Father I pray, with Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and in the love of the Holy Spirit. Amen.