Angels in the trenches
A Christian Science perspective.
A plea for support of soldiers on battle assignment overseas sits on my desk, waiting for a donation. "Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa," it says, "it’s the loneliest time to be at the Front."
Prepaid phone cards, which my donation will provide, can shrink the distance between troops and their faraway families and friends for a few precious minutes. I long to do more, though. To convey the message of God’s goodness and power right where each man and woman in uniform is serving. To help erase feelings of isolation and fear.
For centuries, people posted to dangerous places far away from home have found comfort and protection in a spiritual source – their heavenly Father-Mother God. It makes sense that God’s children, no matter where they are, would be included in the divine omnipresence. And it also makes sense that God ensures that we feel this all-presence.
That’s where angels come in. Angels are "God’s thoughts passing to man," according to Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy. This description of them, from her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," continues: "spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality" (p. 581).
Angels are not messengers from a remote God to struggling members of His creation. They are actually as close as thought, with direct and dependable power. While purely mental, their impact is tangible. It’s felt in specific ways – in useful ideas, clear direction, profound reassurance, and sure defense.
Nothing can stop or deflect the loving communication God intends for Her treasured children – no evil purpose or tactic, no forbidding terrain, no distance. The fact is that where we are, He is; and where She is, we are. Our oneness with God guarantees our ability to receive His angel messages.
How can we be sure of this? Often, all that’s needed is a deep desire to feel God’s presence. Opening our hearts to biblical truths about God’s allness, for example, awakens our consciousness to good – a basic word for God – which drives out fear and sadness. And maintaining this mental focus on spiritual good brings whatever we need, from companionship and affection to peace and security, into our experience without fail. A verse from a hymn by Violet Hay in the "Christian Science Hymnal" (No. 9) conveys this message well:
O longing hearts that wait on God
Through all the world so wide;
He knows the angels that you need,
And sends them to your side,
To comfort, guard and guide.
The Psalmist found this to be true in his own life, especially when he needed protection from overwhelming foes. He wrote, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them" (34:7, New International Version). Whether or not David wrote this Psalm, he saw evidence of its truth. The giant Goliath and vengeful King Saul had no power over David when he committed to fearing, or revering, the God he knew to be both mighty and loving.
David was clearly convinced of the reliability of God’s care. It’s a theme that repeats itself throughout his writing, perhaps most movingly in some well-loved verses attributed to him. Speaking of the resolve to lean on God, he describes far-reaching benefits: "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways" (Ps. 91:9-11).
If you or someone you know feels out of the reach of angels, remember that "God’s thoughts" are being communicated to everyone, everywhere, every moment. This affirmation is a prayer that heals loneliness, dissolves anxiety, and ensures safety. It’s one I’m going to offer regularly for our brothers and sisters in the military – and their families – around the world.