The presence of angels in our world is an oft-neglected reality in Christian circles today. We do not deny their presence, as certainly they are common in the Bible (34 of the 66 books in the Bible mention angels), but we do sometimes trivialize their existence. Angels in popular culture tend to be reflected as a Precious Moments, child-like fairy creature that might leave a mint on your pillow. True angels stop the mouths of lions (Dn. 6), and they bring about that graceful, terrible awe (Luke 1:29), that brings about not worship of them (Rev.22:8-9), but of the one true God. Angels are a further reminder of the continuity of this world and the next. The Lord is king of earth and Heaven, and his angels minister to his people, in service of the king. They are not wimps ready to offer a pat on the back or a “thumbs up,” but servants of the mighty Lord, equipped with boldness, power, and compassion that can make even the hardest of hearts weep.
We will find ourselves at times in despair, about the world and about our own lives. But we should remember that there are angels among us, and though we may be unaware (Heb. 13:2), they are protectors, comforters, and warriors. Martin Luther wrote, “that the entire world is not a mass of flames, that all towns and villages are not lying in a heap of ruins, we owe to the working and doing of good angels.” Bad news reaches our doorsteps in newspapers, televisions, and phone calls, but the world is not chaos. Goodness will reign as it does at the end of good stories, because this world, like the fantasy worlds that we read about, are under care of a good king, with good sentries who serve the people. Each of us has had the sense that this world is not our home, but like finding a memento in your luggage at camp from a parent that reminds you of that place, we too should find solace in knowing that the comforts of angels in this world is a foretaste set to explode into uncontrollable delight in the Lord when we reach our eternal rest.