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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In Search of Angels and Miracles

                      "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard
                       you in all your ways"   -   Psalm 91:11 NIV

A military chaplain, who was in the Marines, related this story. One snowy day in Washington as he was driving back to his base, he got stalled behind a long stretch of stopped cars on the highway. The highway billboard was flashing: snow chains required. That was a warning to all drivers going on the mountainous Snoqualmie Pass. Some drivers were already at work putting on their chains, some didn't have any and some had them in their hands but simply had no clue as to how to put them in place. Our soldier priest, feeling chivalrous in his cammie uniform decided to help those mechanically-challenged ones and got busy. Car by car, he'd get down on his knees, install those mesh of cable wires, then off the thankful driver would go. After working on about half a dozen vehicles, he finally got to his own. Unfortunately, he discovered that his very own chain had snapped cables and were simply useless. There wasn't anybody behind him to help and drivers on the road were just zipping by. Crying out loud in frustration at the unfairness of his situation, he looked up to heaven and yelled, "perhaps You could send me an angel or something!". Lo and behold, five minutes later, a  punk in leather pants with spiky hair pulled up, said "my old man was in the Marines", handed him an extra set of chains and was gone. Needles to say, his story had a happy ending and he made it back to the base safe and sound.

Stories about angels have always fascinated me. The Chaplain truly believed that that leather-clad kid was the angel sent by God. He may be right but I believe an angel has been on that Pass long before that kid showed up - it was him, our soldier priest. He may not have the wings to spread but he had able hands. The clunking sound of those snow chains that he had deftly wrapped around tires was probably the best music to the ears of those stranded drivers.

In this life, we all find ourselves in less-than-ideal or -comfortable circumstances at one point or another. God loves us so much that if and when we find ourselves in dire situations, He'd like us to be able to get out of it. Thus He gave each one of us the ability to pull ourselves out of the hole. We can be the angels we ask for and didn't have to earn wings for it. God has provided us with everything that we need to be able to live life to the fullest. We are gifted with intelligence to invent and innovate and to think things through, we have hands to create and build but we must allow our feet to take the first steps toward whatever goals we have set. Most of the time, we do not need to ask for angels to come rescue us and we do not need to pray for miracles to alter the course of our lives. We just need to think wisely, act responsibly and then get moving.

In this tough economic times, average families and individuals are faced with hard choices. Homeowners who are underwater must decide whether they should sell or fight to keep their properties. A single woman might be faced with an unplanned pregnancy. What does she do with the baby? An employer might need to take drastic measures to keep his business afloat. Should he let go of his trusted employees or should he take in more bank loans when business is floundering? It's a helpless feeling for consumers paying $50 at the pump to fill up a Geo Metro and when even donuts are getting more expensive yet their holes seem to be getting larger. There are a lot of things to worry about these days. But perhaps these are the times when we must sit down at the kitchen table and reflect on our values and priorities, take stock of our situations and take responsibility for our actions.

Problems and challenges are a fact of life. They are mostly temporary yet the lessons we learn from tackling them will most likely stay with us forever. Do we pray for angels to come help us through or should we look at the end of our arms and see that the helping hands we're asking for are right there? We might even surprise ourselves with the strength of our own body and spirit. And when we do turn things around, that could be the sweetest miracle that we were waiting for.

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