An army of angels

You can’t turn on the television nowadays, or go online, without seeing something related to health and safety. How to secure and maintain these essential pillars of society is one of the most important discussions of our time. Yet, these topics aren’t new—just open the Bible. 

Angels are pure and comforting thoughts that come straight from God to His children.

The Bible provides us with a significant record of individuals who chose to meet and conquer life’s struggles through the power of God. And in its eternal relevance, it gives us practical instruction in how to experience health and protection in our own lives. 

One of the greatest instances of God’s protecting power found in the Scriptures is the account of Daniel, a Hebrew prophet, who was thrown into a den of lions. Daniel was placed in this life-threatening situation as a punishment for defying a new law that the king of the Medes, Darius, had decreed. Darius had mandated that anyone who prayed to a man or a god, other than himself, would be cast into a den of lions (see Daniel, chap. 6).

Now Daniel knew that his obedience and commitment to God would protect him. He had already seen that fact proved many times in his life. However, there was another factor that must have given great comfort and strength to Daniel during this trial: Very simply, he understood God to be ever present. From a young age, Daniel trusted that he could never be outside the care of infinite God, and he took time each day to pray and to acknowledge that God was present.

One way in which the Bible symbolically represents the presence of God is through angels. The prophet Isaiah understood this when he said, “In all their affliction … the angel of his [God’s] presence saved them” (Isaiah 63:9). In other words, we could say that the Bible depicts angels as messengers from God that reveal His saving power and presence to our thought. 

Thus when King Darius came to check on Daniel after his night in the den of lions, it’s not surprising that Daniel answered, “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me” (Daniel 6:22). Daniel knew and tangibly felt that God was present with him the whole time. The angels of God had revealed it to him.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, helps to explain the biblical symbolism of angels in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She says that angels are “God’s thoughts passing to man,” and that these pure thoughts help to counteract all evil and materiality (p. 581). This definition helps explain that angels are simply pure and comforting thoughts that come straight from God to His children. 

These heavenly messages reveal God’s presence to us, and they help to change and improve our thinking so that we gain a better understanding of the exclusively good and spiritual reality of God’s creation. This improved or spiritualized thought actually brings God’s power into our lives in tangible and wonderful ways, and it must have been something of what Daniel experienced during his long night in the lions’ den. As Mary Baker Eddy explains in another part of Science and Health, “… Daniel felt safe in the lions’ den …” (p. 514).

I too am grateful for the presence of angels. As a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, I am asked to travel around the world to give talks about Christian Science. One of these trips involved going to England for a ten-day tour to lecture in multiple locations. A few days before the trip, an irritation or rash developed on my backside. The condition wasn’t painful, but it was rather distracting, and it seemed to flare up at night, which made sleeping very difficult. By the time I arrived in England, I had not slept for three days.

During this challenge, I was praying to acknowledge that God was present, and that I could not be separate from His love. One passage that I worked with diligently was this wonderful promise of safety from the 91st Psalm: “He [God] shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (verse 11). 

To me, that meant I was under the care and protection of God as I went about my business. It meant that as I acknowledged the presence of God, His angel thoughts would literally take charge of my thinking and lift me to a better understanding of the eternal harmony of God’s creation.  

Within a day or so of my arrival in England, the troublesome rash vanished almost entirely, for which I was most grateful. However, even though the irritation was gone, I still found myself struggling to sleep at night, and it was becoming increasingly harder to function normally. 

God’s loving laws preserve the life and health of man at every moment.

So I continued to pray and acknowledge that God was present. I thought of God’s wonderful promise in the Bible: “You will be nursed, you will be carried on her hip and trotted [lovingly bounced up and down] on her [God’s maternal] knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:12, 13, Amplified Bible). This heavenly message literally began to transform my thought. It gave me a better understanding of the fact that my true selfhood was spiritual, and that God’s loving laws preserve the life and health of man at every moment.

As I continued to pray along these lines, I also decided that I should contact a Christian Science practitioner to pray with me. Within minutes of sending an email to the practitioner, I fell asleep peacefully and slept soundly for the first time in a week. 

When I checked my email later in the day, I noticed that a return email had been sent back shortly after I reached out for help. In the email, the practitioner had shared a quote from Science and Health that states: “The footsteps of thought, rising above material standpoints, are slow, and portend a long night to the traveller; but the angels of His presence—the spiritual intuitions that tell us when ‘the night is far spent, the day is at hand’—are our guardians in the gloom” (p. 174). 

That quote captured my situation perfectly. There I was, a weary traveller having long and sleepless nights, but even during those dark hours, God was still present. In fact, God was sending “the angels of His presence” to help lift my thought above tired “material standpoints” and to reach a better understanding of my indestructible spiritual identity. Like a mother holding a young child in her arms, those angel thoughts were embracing me, giving me a greater sense of God’s infinite love; they were my “guardians in the gloom.” 

From that point on, the healing was complete, and I slept normally for the rest of the trip. Nor did I have any trouble adjusting my sleep schedule when I returned home to a different time zone. 

Healing in Christian Science always involves a change in thought. Healing occurs when our mistaken mortal concepts are replaced with the correct spiritual facts about God’s creation. Angels are the thoughts that come from God to inspire this mental adjustment. So no matter what situation we seem to be in, no matter how dark things seem to get, God is present with us, and He is forever sending us an army of angels to defend and preserve our well-being.

Not pulled down … but lifted up!
March 13, 2017

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