Angels Unaware

Writing about the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the angel that was sent by God to “save” George in my blog last week reminded me of a story that Kayla and I experienced in Toronto, Canada many years ago…

Mark and Brian had a trade show up in Toronto, Canada and Kayla (who was four at the time) and I went along for a little vacation of shopping and swimming in the indoor pool. Toronto is also the home of the Airport Church that is known for a great spiritual revival, so when my friend heard I was going to Toronto she said I should visit that church Sunday morning. I appreciated her suggestion, but didn’t think I really would. Mark and Brian had several days at the trade show while Kayla and I spent the mornings in the pool and the afternoons looking for “Canadian” Christmas presents. We stayed at a hotel right in the city, so they could walk to the Convention Center, and we could walk to the stores. I didn’t forget my friend’s suggestion and when Sunday morning came I was curious to know if it was at all possible to go. Mark looked up the address and looked for the options to get there. He wrote down the address and what seemed to me some really confusing directions on a very small piece of paper. “Wow, I can’t figure all that out, there is no way I’m going.” I took the paper and put it in my pocket and the four of us went to breakfast. While eating I noticed some sparrows outside the window busily finding seeds when I “heard” the Lord say, “See those sparrows, just as I watch over them, I watch over you.” I knew in my spirit that I was to go to the church no matter how confusing it seemed or how afraid I was. So after breakfast Mark and Brian went to the trade show and Kayla and I began a journey I never imagined I would have the courage to make. Though I’d lived in New Jersey for many years, I was still a country girl with no city experience whatsoever! So with those sparrows on my mind, pushing past my fear, and expecting to receive something amazing from God at the church, I bundled us up, put Kayla in her stroller, and walked out the hotel door in search of the subway. I found the entrance to the subway and descended the several flights of steps. When I went to pay for our tickets I mentioned where we were going and the clerk told me I was on the wrong side, I needed to go up those flights of stairs and go down the other side. Okay, better to find out now rather than later! I folded up the stroller once again and carried it and Kayla up the stairs, and down the right side. The train traveled awhile underground and then came up outside and after awhile stopped in what seemed the middle of nowhere. There was a bus stop there and I figured I was to take a bus the rest of the way. But what bus? I went to the driver of the only bus there at the time and asked if that bus went to the address of the church. He said it did so I asked him to let me know when we got to that stop and he said he would. But once I sat down in the back of the bus I looked up and that driver walked off the bus and another driver got on. “O Lord, now how will I know where to get off?” Once we were on the road for awhile I had the courage to start some conversation with those around me and I asked if anyone knew where I needed to get off. (Yes, this was before I was set free from my fears of what people thought of me.) They were very helpful and finally we arrived at the stop. Several of us got off and some of them where also going to the church. I followed them because I still didn’t know where the church was. Once we were finally there I expected something incredible. “God, thank You for getting us here, after all I just went through You must have something really important You want me to hear. So here I am, Lord, speak to me.” We were obviously late so we stood in the back which was good because Kayla was ready to stretch her little legs. I really can’t remember much of the service other than that they had a baby dedication that day and there must have been at least 30 babies. One thing that I did notice, there was a woman about five rows in front of me wearing a plaid skirt and I don’t know why, but for some reason I kept looking at her, and her plaid skirt. Then the service was over. It wasn’t anything like I expected. “Lord, don’t You have something for me? I pushed through all my fear just for that?” I put our coats on, Kayla got back in her stroller and we followed the crowd out the door, feeling very let down. Then I realized I needed to reverse everything I did to get there. I hadn’t really thought about that, but I did figure out I needed to get to the bus stop on the other side of the road which was outside the industrial park. Just as I began to walk in that direction a car pulled up beside me. The woman rolled down her window and asked if she could give me a ride. I told her I was going to the bus stop, but that would be a great help. When she got out of her car to help with Kayla and the stroller guess what she was wearing… yup, the plaid skirt I kept looking at all morning! When I was buckling Kayla in the back seat beside her daughter, she asked where we were going and I told her the name of the hotel we were staying at in the city. That’s when she offered to take us there since they “lived right nearby.” “Oh God, this is amazing! I don’t need to reverse it all!” I honestly wish I had recorded our conversation as we drove to the hotel. She talked mostly of what she and her husband did and even as she was talking I couldn’t understand it all. All I remembered was that it had something to do with worship. It was Thanksgiving Day weekend so there was a big parade going on that afternoon which caused her to have to go way around the city to get to our hotel. I felt bad that she needed to drive so far, so when I saw some familiar stores we shopped at the day before I told her to just leave us off there, but she insisted on dropping us off at the hotel. After thanking her over and over again and saying good-by I walked into our hotel completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I may not have received anything during the service, but that miraculous ride back to the hotel was a gift from God I will never forget!

The following year Kayla and I heard a story on the radio of a preacher who had a similar experience, and a miraculous climax that made it clear he was rescued by an angel.

“For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” Psalm 34:7

We heard that story played several more times and each time we heard it we were reminded of our experience in Toronto.

I can’t say for sure, but I believe that woman in the plaid skirt that my eye kept catching even before I knew I needed her help…

That woman whose conversation was so unique I wasn’t able to understand it or remember it…

That woman who said she “lived right nearby” the hotel in the middle of downtown Toronto…

That woman who insisted she drop me off right in front of my hotel…

I believe that woman was an angel sent by God to help me in my time of need.

“Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.” Hebrews 1:14

I believe my experience in going to the Airport Church, and God’s gift of sending an angel to bring me back was the very “thing” God used to teach me the importance of pushing through my fear, to fully believe that He cares for me and watches over me, and to listen to and act on the promptings of the Holy Spirit, no matter what.

It was an experience that I have never forgotten, it never loses it’s wonder, and it has given me courage to do many things and to go many places since then.

“For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.” Psalm 91:11


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