A SIGN FROM AN ANGEL?
These last few days I have been reading/teaching a few passages from Matthew and one of the quotes of Jesus [chapter 24] comes from the Old Testament book of Daniel. So as I skimmed through a few of the verses I felt like the Lord was leading me to read a chapter or 2.
My last year at the fire Dept. was 2007- I retired in 12-07 with a few days just under 25 years. Though I never planned on retiring that early- I was only 45- and even though I had put in a full 25 years- the young age effects how much you get. I always planned on working till at least 55.
But the last year my back injury was bad- had it for many years [bad disk] and the last few months I finished on injury leave. Now- we have had guys who worked 25 years and spent at least half of it on injury leave- yes some guys know how to work the system. If you don’t count my final 6 months on the job- for the entire other 25 years I only took a total of 2 weeks on injury leave- so I wasn’t a ‘work the system’ kinda guy.
When I retired- the city fully expected me to try and do some kind of injury settlement- it became standard procedure for stuff like this. I took my retirement check and left- they never heard from me again.
The last year- before I knew I was leaving- I would get up real early in the morning [I actually started this practice the last few years before I retired]. I would walk outside and pray for most of the night. I did the same at the house. One thing I soon realized is when you’re up most of the night- you see lots of shooting stars and you learn the different star patterns during the year.
I would often find it ‘strange’ to see a shooting star right at certain times during prayer- maybe I would pray ‘let your word go forth’ and then see a star. Now- I know it might be a coincidence and all- yet at times it was weird.
One night- I will never forget this one- I was walking outside early [maybe 3 a.m.?] and I felt impressed to pray a verse from the book of Daniel. I was thinking about the story of the angel Gabriel and his dealings with Daniel. At one point Daniel is praying to God and he seems to be stuck- he needs a breakthrough. So after a few weeks of seeking God the angel Gabriel appears and tells Daniel he’s there to help.
So as I was thinking about this passage I felt the Lord leading me to do a ‘Daniel prayer’ which to me meant to simply say something like ‘God- send some angels to help us out- Gabriel- come on- what’s taking so long!’ And as soon as I prayed the thing I saw a giant meteor roll through the sky. Now- when I say giant I mean it. It was a huge ball of fire- I have never seen anything like it in real time.
So this obviously stuck with me- a sign from God maybe? Anyway I really never gave it much thought that it came right at a major transitional time in my life- I left the Fire Dept. and at the same time entered into a few new areas of doing ministry. In a way it was a Beginning of a new thing.
So as I’m reading Daniel the other day- I read chapter 9- probably the first time since seeing the meteor in 2007. And I read Gabriel saying ‘I’m the one you saw at the start- when you first started praying- I heard you and was sent forth- I’m now here’. I found it strange because these last few weeks during prayer I felt lead to ask for God to send- well yes angels. I mentioned Michael and Gabriel. So in a way it was like the Lord was saying- through Gabriel ‘I’m the sign you saw at the start- I finally made it’.
Now- one of the new ministry things I started was Facebook- lots of old friends and a few new ones. Because I’m such a political junky- I ‘friended’ a few of the sites that are called ‘Days of Rage’ these are the Arab/Persian nations who are protesting their leaders.
One of the friends on the site is from the tiny nation of Bahrain- if you look on a map it’s this little country sitting right off the coast- in the Persian Gulf. The reason this nation is getting a pass- as opposed to dropping bombs on them [like Libya] is because we have our 5th fleet docked there- this is our major sea base for the whole region.
But I have had a few good talks with the person who runs the site- and I feel doing stuff like this- reaching out to help—even in Arab/Muslim nations- that we as Christains should try and be involved- while at the same time sharing the gospel.
Many years ago while preaching at the jails- I met an exchange student who got arrested and was from the Persian Gulf area. He told me he was Muslim but he would appreciate it if I bought him a Persian language bible. So I ordered one and a few weeks later I gave it to him. He was really grateful- I guess he thought I would forget. This was the first [only?] foreign language bible I recall ever actually buying. But I have thought about it recently- kind of thinking ‘heck, maybe it’s because I have been praying for my friends in the Persian Gulf and somehow this was always a region we were to befriend’.
So this morning I read chapter 10 of Daniel [chapter 9 was the chapter referenced above] and Daniel is on his face- going through great trials- and Gabriel appears again and says ‘fear not Daniel- understand the words that I speak to you. Since the first day you began seeking God I was sent. But the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia withstood me, but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes [angels] came to help me… and I am now come to tell you what will happen to your people in the coming days’.
I just found the entire conversation between Daniel/God and the angels to have been speaking to me. I mean I was just praying about Persia- asking for God to send Gabriel and Michael [by name!] and I had no idea that I would stumble across these obscure Daniel chapters that include all these same elements.
Let me be frank- There are entire church movements [which I am very familiar with] that live their whole lives being led by stuff like this. These are often described as Prophetic or Apostolic movements. I have read lots- and been involved some with these churches and for the most part they are great Christians- It’s just I find at times they avoid ‘classical’ education. That is many of the things I write about and stuff I feel all believers should learn- many of these type churches have no time for ‘that stuff’ and they simply wait for the next ‘Daniel’ experience.
That is they look for details in scripture- things that are not always there. So I want to go on record to say I don’t see these types of experiences as the norm for the healthy Christian life. Yet- I have had them happen- and when they do it’s important to listen.
I thank the Lord that he has sent some help for us at this time- my friends in the Persian/Arab world as well as the ones here in the U.S. I thank God we are part of a real community of people- some have gone on to be with God- others are still here- and yes- we do have a company of angels that are also looking in on the thing [Hebrews, Revelation, etc.]
When we do all we can do and are at the end of the rope- like Daniel flat on his face- it helps when God sends an angel and says ‘heck- get up from the ground- stand up- we have work to do’.