Sometimes when the burdens of life get really heavy, I kind of look around for my guardian angel. I’m pretty sure I’d recognize mine in a line-up: the one with the gray hair and the perpetually mystified look (“What on EARTH is she doing NOW?!”) When things go wrong, it can be comforting to think about the next life, when wrongs will be righted, the virtuous will prevail, and the only tears will be happy ones.
Recently I was talking with an author friend about the “robe of glory” that clothed our first parents prior to the Fall, the resplendent covering of light that, when sin entered the world, disappeared so that they immediately felt the need to cover their own nakedness (Gen 3:7).
This instinct to “cover” continues, and will continue until we reach the perfection of heaven, when that glory will be restored in all its staggering brilliance. Until that time, however, we catch a glimpse of that light in divinely appointed encounters. In a word, we will “entertain angels unawares.”
We find examples of this throughout the Bible (though admittedly some interactions were more entertaining than others). Jacob wrestled with the angel, and got a displaced hip and a new name. Abraham set a feast before his visitors as his wife laughed in their tent, and within a year she became a mother. There are seventeen encounters with angels in the New Testament: an angel appears to a young teenager, and reveals her destiny: to become the virgin mother of the Son of God. Another sets loose Peter from prison in Acts 12, and rescues Paul from shipwreck in chapter 27.
These divine interventions continue today — brief flashes of heavenly intervention. And yet, not all angels are of the shiny winged variety. Frankly, some of them are more of a whisper than a flash. Sent as messages from the hand of God, when we “entertain” them, our lives are transformed, and begin to shine with a glimmer heavenly glory, as we begin to fulfill the purpose for which we were created.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in so doing some have entertained angels unawares (Heb 13:2).