It was the first game of the NBA (National Basketball Association) finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the third quarter of a fiercely competitive battle, Paul Pierce, the captain of the Celtics, went down in a heap and had to be carried off the floor by his teammates and brought to the locker room in a wheelchair. The entire crowd in the Boston arena gasped.
But less than two minutes later, Pierce returned to the game and made two 3-point shots to help lead his team to victory. What happened?
In a postgame news conference Pierce explained: "I was like, 'Man, it can't be over like this.' You know, I think God just sent this angel down and said, 'Hey, you're going to be all right. You need to get back out there. Show 'em what you've got' " ("Pierce will play through knee sprain," The Boston Globe, June 7).
In those chaotic, scary, dark moments after his injury, Pierce heard that hopeful voice inside that said, "You're going to be all right." That's the nature of angels. They are God's messages, and they always lead out of darkness into light. Angels reassure, guide, strengthen, and instill hope. They also support our ability to be ourselves and express our talents as when Pierce heard the messages, "You need to get back out there" and "Show 'em what you've got."
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, described angels as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 581). And she said, "These angels deliver us from the depths" (p. 567).
No matter how intense or frightening or dark a situation looks, we can never be separated from whatever messages we need to hear in order to go forward. That means angels are always with us because God, the source of these angel messages, is always with us.
The Old Testament prophet Elijah learned this at a time of deep discouragement. He went into the wilderness, sat down under a juniper tree, and said, "Now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers" (I Kings 19:4). Then he fell asleep. As he slept, an angel touched him and said, "Arise and eat." He looked up, and there was a cake baked on coals and a cruse of water at his head. That food sustained him for 40 days and nights. Shortly after this experience he found his friend and successor, Elisha, who supported him in his mission.
Another angel rescue happened recently when a woman was struggling with a severe respiratory illness that was painful and seemed unrelenting. She chose to have treatment from a Christian Science practitioner because she had experienced many healings through prayer. As she listened to God, she heard a message reassuring her that she was safe in divine Love – in God's care – and that she could never be separated from His protecting power. No matter where she was, she could agree with the Psalmist that "even there ... thy [God's] right hand shall hold me" (Ps. 139:10).
The Bible's account of Daniel and the lions came to mind. Daniel's enemies tricked the king into ordering him thrown into a lions' den for an entire night. But he continued to pray to God. In the morning he was safe and told the king who had come to free him: "O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me" (Dan. 6:21, 22). As the woman held tightly to these messages of safety and thanked God for the constancy of His love, she was healed.
No matter what the challenge is – fear about an injury, discouragement about finances or career, pain, or whatever – God's angels are there, ready to rescue you.
He shall give his angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalms 91:11