Has God or His Angles Ever Spoken to You?
Have you ever had that little voice telling you to do this or don’t do that? Do you get inclinations, gut feelings, or hunches to call someone, or to do a special project, or to write a letter to a family member? Does a feeling of impending disaster or guilt come over you anytime you do or consider doing something you know is bad or wrong?
I think we all have these feelings from time-to-time. Many people say it’s God speaking to us, some say it’s the Holy Spirit or an Angle of God, some say it’s Karma, and some just say its intuition or just our conscience, or a coincidence. Well let me just state as emphatically as I can, that I believe it is God and/or the Holy Spirit, and/or an Angel of God, and I think there’s overwhelming evidence to prove so.
If I listed every bit of evidence I’ve seen in my life, this Blog would be numerous pages long, but let me just point out a few that you may or may not recall.
First, and foremost, the reason for this season, seems to me, to be the best examples. Let’s start with the voice of the Angel Gabriel. Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married. In those days, it was shameful to do anything that would break those vows, in fact the engagement was actually considered an already finalized contract. The Gospel of Luke tells us that during this engagement, the angel went to Mary and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
As you might expect, Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. The holy one to be born will be called, the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” Mary Answered; “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
I wonder if we would have the faith of Mary. Would we pick up the phone when the Angels call, and welcome the message of God. Certainly, none of us have Gabriel bringing us such monumental news, but how often do we have feelings, intuition, and premonitions that might actually be messages from above. Do we really stop to analyze such feelings/messages and seek to learn if there is more to the message? Do we have Mary’s faith to seek out the Lord when we have such questions, feelings, or get these messages? We should – I know our lives are so busy and involved but God wants to help us and speak to us, we just have to answer the phone call.
As many of you know, this was the event leading to the Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. But this wasn’t the first phone call the Angel Gabriel made. As the Gospel of Luke tells us, just six months before “calling” Mary, he “called” Mary’s cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth was childless because she was not able to conceive, and she and husband Zechariah were both very old. The angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.
After Mary had been visited by Gabriel, she ran to see Elizabeth because she was both exited for Elizabeth but also filled with joy that she was so favored by God yet still unsure she was deserving. As Luke tells us, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Is it a coincidence that these blessed events had occurred to both Elizabeth and Mary and that the baby leaped for joy…I don’t think so.
Finally, there is the often-forgotten story of Joseph. As I said before, it was shameful to do anything that would break the engagement promises and soon to be married vows. In fact, Joseph could publicly divorce Mary or even in the worst cases, put her up to public ridicule and possibly have her stoned to death, which was the accepted custom at that time. But as the Gospel of Matthew tells us, because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and did not want to expose her to such a public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Do you have the trust and faith in our Lord that Joseph showed? I know I often struggle with trust, especially with new technology, where so many bad actors are using it to prey on the weak and unknowing, taking advantage of their trust. If you were in Joseph’s shoes, would you listen to the Angel – would you have faith in the eye of all the people who would be doubting your faith. Afterall, you can’t hide a pregnant fiancé when months 6-9 come around. People had to be talking, questioning, ridiculing, doubting, and challenging his faith, and his dedication to Mary. But Joseph stood fast and did not waiver – my, how I wish I could be that strong and courageous!!!
Well we’re not done with the “phone calls” in this story, as there were to be two more Angel “calls” which played a critical role in Jesus very early “human form” life, on earth.
King Herod ruled the Hebrew citizens and had heard word of this child King. He was both curious, as were most, but truly more threatened by the possibility that there was a newly born King to be. He did many things to try to find this boy King, including trying to trick the three Magi into telling Herod the boy’s location when they found him. After the Magi spoke to the king, they went on their way, and followed the star they had seen, as it rose went ahead of them, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. When they came to the stable, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Coincidence that they were warned…I don’t think so.
When the Magi had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So, he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, because of what he had learned from the Magi, the child had to be of those ages. But Jesus would not be there, as the Angel had warned them to leave Bethlehem.
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So, he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
I can’t lose sight of the fact that in nearly every case, the Angels calming words were “do not be afraid.” I think we often discount this or lose sight of how important those words were, especially at that time. Can you imagine going around town telling people that voices were talking to you and telling you things. You would immediately be branded insane or possessed. Quite honestly, I think if we did this today, it would be the same result. The Angels knew how shocking, unusual, and powerful these “calls” would be, and yet with God’s unending love, they comforted them immediately, and assured them there was nothing to fear.
Honestly, there are thousands of more recent examples I can think of and which I plan to write of, at a later date. However, there is one personal “coincidence” that comes to my mind that I know had to be God, an Angel, or the Holy Spirit. We were closing the Indianapolis facility for United Airlines, in 2002, and our family had discussed the options and we were about 60% decided to relocate to the base in Mobile, Alabama. In fact, we had spent some time looking for and trying to pick out houses in a neighborhood that looked ideal for us. At the last minute, literally, that I had to decide to take the job or leave the company, we as a family chose to leave United. You see that United Airlines job was the best job I had ever had and I truly thought I would remain there until retirement. For the next 3 years I wrestled with doubt that I had made a mistake – sure my family was happy we were all together but I wasn’t thrilled in my current role and I really felt staying with United would have been best, by far, for all of us. (I think I was being a bit selfish.) Well on August 23, 2005, when I stopped to reflect on what had just occurred, I was absolutely convinced that our decision had some divine intervention. If the August 2005 date doesn’t ring a bell, that’s the day Hurricane Katrina came on shore in the Gulf. Don’t you know that the eye of the hurricane came on shore exactly where we were looking to buy, what would have been, our new home, had we stayed with United. And to top it off, United was forced to close the Mobile location due to Katrina as well, thus I would have lost that job as well had we not decided to leave United. Coincidence that we left United – I DEFINATLEY DON’T THINK SO!!!
As I reflect on the Christmas story and on my personal life, to a far far lesser extent, I have seen many examples and have often been steered by the various feelings I’ve had to do certain things, most of which turned out very good and are things I would normally never had done. Was this an Angel calling me, was the Holy Spirit softly speaking to me, or watching over me, or was God himself steering my direction? I honestly don’t know, and lord knows these things did not always turn out positive, or at least I felt so at the time. But even the negatives often turned out positive in the end, I just didn’t have Mary’s or Joseph’s faith to see it at the time. I honestly don’t think there’s any magic ring tone or flashing light that goes off when these “calls” come to us, but I do think we need to look up more to God and look less in the mirror or in the camera. If we TRULY, and I do mean TRULY, have faith in God, trust him, and always do our best to seek out his word in the Bible, then when the phone rings, we will ALWAYS end up better off. This does not mean there won’t he heartache, struggles and sorry, as this is what a human life entails, but many times it’s these challenges that lead to Gods best rewards, we only have to answer the phone when Gabriel or his awesome Angel team come calling.