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On Guardian Angel

Angel of God My guardian dear To Whom His love Commits me here Ever this day Be at my side To light and guard To rule and guide. Amen

It was drizzling lightly many years ago as I was driving back to Manila with my friends Jimmy, Gerry and Larry. Somewhere along the stretch of highway in barrio Mangilag, Candelaria, Quezon, a passenger jeepney suddenly swerved to my lane and sped crazily towards me. I quickly turned the wheel to my left to avoid a collision, but as I stepped on the brakes, the vehicle (a Toyota Land Cruiser) that I was driving skidded several yards, hit a post and turned over to its side. In a split second, I found myself thrown out of the vehicle and lying face up on the ground. As I lay there in the mud I saw above me the whole weight of my vehicle falling in my direction. I waited to be crushed to death but for some reason the car stopped just a few inches of crushing my face and body. It was as if someone had pushed it backwards.

By the grace of God even though we were thrown out of the vehicle, we only sustained minor bruises. I learned later that the place where I met the accident was called “Delinquent Spot.” A few months earlier a passenger bus just had an accident in the same location killing 13 people. Two years earlier a private jeep also had an accident in the same spot and which took the life of one person. One of the reasons given for the number of mishaps and near mishaps in that place was that there was a sudden dip in that long straight stretch of highway. Others say it was plainly a delinquent place.

But what makes me wonder to this day is if my guardian angel had a hand in pushing back that vehicle. The famous evangelist Billy Graham in his book on Angels cited many incidents that prove the existence of angels.

For example, he tells the story of one pioneer Christian missionary, the Reverend John G. Paton, in the New Hebrides Islands (located in the South Pacific) now known as Vanuatu. One night, warlike natives surrounded his mission house with the intention of burning the house and killing Paton and his wife. The couple, sensing grave danger, prayed and prayed hard all night. They prayed for deliverance. At break of dawn they noticed no natives around. The natives had mysteriously left.

After a year, the chief of the natives (already converted to Christianity) and Paton recalled that fateful night. Paton could not help asking the chief why they did not burn the mission house that night and kill the couple. “Why did you leave the place without harming us?”

“How could we attack you when your house was surrounded by your men?”

“What men?”

“Who were all those men with you?”

“There were no men there except my wife and I.”

“But there were, hundreds of them! How could we attack when there were hundreds of giant-like men in shining garments with drawn swords surrounding the mission house?” The chief agreed with the Reverend Paton that God had sent his angels that night to protect the mission house.

Again, the Rev. Billy Graham, still in his book on Angels, likes to tell the story of the famous World War II pilot Eddie Rickenbacker who crash landed with his crew in the Pacific Ocean. For days he went missing, which drove the mayor of New York, Fiorello La Guardia, to request everyone in the city to pray for their rescue.

When Rickenbacker and his crew were finally rescued after 24 days at sea, he told this amazing story: When his plane went down in the Pacific, he and his crew were able to squeeze themselves out of the plane and climb onto a life raft. They floated for many days in the middle of the Pacific Ocean until all their rations ran out. On the eighth day, facing certain death by starvation, they performed a devotional service, praying for a miracle. Suddenly, a seagull from nowhere landed on Eddie’s cap. He grabbed the gull and everyone of the crew made a meal of it. Then they used the intestines as bait for fish which gave them more food and more bait to last them through the ordeal. Capt. Rickenbacker according to Billy Graham became a devout Christian because of this incident. “I have no explanation,” Rickenbacker said later, “except that God had sent one of His angels to rescue us.” Rickenbacker never forgot the sacrifice of that particular gull. He made it a point that on every Friday night he would walk towards the edge of the pier with a bucket of shrimps. A swarm of seagulls would appear as if on cue waiting for him to toss shrimp after shrimp to the hungry birds. Each time he did this he would smile and say “Thank you, thank you.”

I have opened up to friends and acquaintances about angels, and surprisingly many of them have a story to tell. A few months ago my friend Emcee from Quezon City told me that her guardian angel once saved her from certain danger. She was on her way to buy groceries at the store near her house. Along the way, however, a stranger selling tomatoes by the sidewalk stopped her and kept persisting she buy tomatoes. After a couple of minutes, because he kept blocking her way, she finally gave in and bought some tomatoes. When she got to the store, she was wondering why policemen were in the area. There had just been a robbery a couple of minutes ago and somebody was hurt inside. The couple of minutes delay saved her. When she looked back at the sidewalk in the area where the man sold his wares, he was nowhere in sight. She’d pass by there often, but she never saw the man and his tomatoes again.

I personally believe in angels. The Bible has many powerful verses about angels.

The truth is that God talks to us all the time not directly but through His creation. He teaches us and often protects us from harm, and He does this through the laws of nature, through persons, places, and things of everyday life. Of course, God can, and has, on special occasions dispensed with this and communicated directly to us, but these are extremely rare cases, as in the instance when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was going to be the mother of Jesus: “Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:30-31)

Another special instance: When Mary (Magdalene) was looking for Jesus in His tomb, one of the two angels by His tomb announced to her what was to be the greatest news in the world: “He is not here. He is risen.” (Luke 24:6)

He is risen that we may be saved from the disaster of sin, as surely as He saved my life, through His angels, from certain death that fateful evening in Candelaria, Quezon.

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