''He [God] shall give his angels charge over thee,'' the Psalmist sang, ''to keep thee in all thy ways.''n1
This comforting promise is certainly no abstraction, but a divine law that can be experienced by us all; a reality that simply cannot be undone by adversity.
My wife, two boys, and I found this to be the case when we were making a winter trip to California. One of the fan belts on our vintage-year, foreign-made car broke; this caused the car to overheat and eventually stop on an isolated stretch of highway. We had neither a spare belt nor the required metric tools to make the repair.
As earnest Christians, however, we had all prayed, prior to setting out, for a safe, happy trip. My own efforts centered on gaining a better understanding of the Bible verse just quoted -- specifically, the reference to angels. What constitutes their identity? How do angels function?
Throughout the Scriptures there are instances where individuals had encounters with angels. They turned to God in time of need and were inspired with divine thoughts. They gained a deeper sense of the ever-present goodness of God. Even Christ Jesus was ministered to by angels. n2
n2 See Matthew 4:11.
But clearly, something more is implied in what the Bible tells us of these beings than the commonly held conception of them as glorified humans with wings! A higher, spiritual view of angels is pointed to in a definition given by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She writes: ''Angels. God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.'' n3
n3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, m p. 581.
When this roadside emergency occurred, I remembered the great peace and understanding I had gained from my prayer. ''This is simply an opportunity to put into practice what was learned,'' I thought. ''God is spontaneously good; good in manifestation. No matter where we may be, we are inseparable from our Maker, the expression of His being. As such, we have unremitting access to angels, the pure intuitions that lead to dominion over evil.'' My wife and children and I discussed the spiritual view of angels as taught in Christian Science and claimed our right to experience God's love and care.
The boys and I then got out of the car and headed toward the tiny town we had passed a while before. We were picked up by the first people to come our way and taken to the only auto supply shop in the area. It had the rather rare-sized fan belt we needed, and a mechanic in the store offered to take us back to the car and put it on. But when we arrived, he found that he too lacked the proper tools.
The mechanic did, however, push us back to the village with his truck and take us to the only service station in operation. They didn't have the needed tools either. A feeling of frustration and failure tried to set in and blind us to the dynamic good we had already received. Good has its source in God, and because God is infinite, it must continue to develop and unfold. It is never inadequate, incomplete. The earthbound, nagging arguments of evil are incapable of silencing God's direction and guidance, His angels.
With this uplifted outlook came a complete answer to our trouble. Someone remembered a couple that had just moved to town and were in the process of opening another service facility. We were taken there. They had the right equipment, and the fan belt was put on.
After paying a small installation fee and thanking vigorously all concerned (our friend who had pushed us from the highway refused to charge us for his help and was reluctant to accept even what we gave him), we were once again on our way. What a lesson we had learned!
Angels are neither mystical nor impractical. They are as near to us as our thoughts of God, as our consciousness and appreciation of good. Angels bless one and all, infinitely, and this never stops. ''Into His haven of Soul,'' Mrs. Eddy tells us, ''there enters no element of earth to cast out angels, to silence the right intuition which guides you safely home.'' n4
n4Miscellaneous Writings, p. 152.m
DAILY BIBLE VERSE He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalms 91:11