Sunday, July 02, 2017

Nancy Hughes devotion: Angels in the subway

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and
to bring you to the place I have prepared.”
Exodus 23:20 (NIV)

He didn’t look like an angel to me, at least not like any angel I had pictured. He had long dark dreadlocks curling almost to his waist and a red and black bandana tied at the back of his head. His sleeveless jacket was woven with what appeared to be strands of yarn in purple, red, yellow and green. His jeans were thin denim, frayed at the bottom.

I hadn’t even noticed him at first, sitting right next to me. My stress level was a 12 on a 10 scale as I watched the young woman in the next row alternate between leaning back in her seat and then slumping forward, her arms hugging her chest, her eyes closed.

We had been at the Passion Conference in the Georgia Dome in Atlantawhen she became quite ill and since I was the nurse with the group, I volunteered to get her back to the hotel. There was only one problem and it was a huge one.

I was not blessed with any sense of direction when I was created. None. I get lost in closets and small bathrooms. Every way I turn is north. Always. And she and I were on the MARTA – the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority – trying to get back to the airport to catch a shuttle to our hotel.

Directionally challenged. On the subway. In a strange city. Mercy.

She motioned for me to lean over and I heard her whisper “You know how to get us back, right Nurse Nancy?” I smiled confidently and said “Of course I do. We are going to be fine.” She leaned back and closed her eyes and I leaned back to find the young man next to me half-smiling. “You don’t know where you’re going, do you.” he stated quietly, not as a question, but as fact.

“Uh, no. No I don’t. But she is really sick and I have to get her back to our hotel” I told him as I silently prayed “Lord, help us! You know I have no sense of direction! Please get us back!”

Two minutes later the subway slowed to a stop and I felt panic begin to take over. Do we get off here? Do we ride further? What are we going to do? Suddenly I noticed that the young man had gotten up from his seat and was standing at the door, ready to leave.

But two other things also caught my eye: one, that he was very tall and two that he was motioning with his head that we were at our first stop. I grabbed the young lady with me and put my arm around her as I whispered “Come on. This is where we get off” with a confidence that I absolutely did not feel. We stepped out of the subway and into swarms of people trying to get around us to the seats we had just exited.

For a second time I felt panic begin to creep into my body when I noticed the young man glance back at me and once again nod his head as he walked around a corner. “This way,” I told her but stopped as I rounded the corner and realized there were four possible directions to go in and I had no idea which was the one for us.

“Lord!” I cried out in my heart and looked to my left. There at the top of a flight of stairs was a beautiful sight: a very tall young man with dark dreadlocks standing still on the first step, as the rush of people flowed around either side of him. And he was looking at me.

One more nod and I could not help the grin as I mouthed “Thank you” and helped the young woman with me as we followed him down the stairs to the next level in the subway.

“Wait right here,” I told her. “I want to thank that man who helped us.” But as I turned around, he was nowhere to be seen. Nowhere. A very tall young man with dark dreadlocks, a red and black bandana on his head and a colorful jacket had completely disappeared in a matter of seconds.

I turned back to the young woman and said “He’s gone! How could he have disappeared like that? He was so tall. I couldn’t have missed him!” We both looked at each other. “An angel. He must have been an angel,” I told her. She nodded. “God took care of us.” But we were not home yet.

This new level in the subway posed new problems. Which way to go now? The crowd of just a few minutes earlier was gone and we were left standing with only a woman and her baby in a stroller.

“You got us this far, Lord. Which way now? Which way?” I prayed. My answer came in the form of a very tiny lady in a blue shirt and slacks who suddenly appeared in front of me. “Where you goin’ Honey?” she asked. “We are trying to get back to the airport,” I told her. “My friend here is sick and I need to find the right subway car to get her there.”

Her smile was huge as she instructed me “You stay right here, facin’ this way,” she replied. “Don’t move ‘cause this car that’s comin’ is gonna take you to the airport. You stand in this spot you are in now and the doors will open right in front of you.”

“We are almost there!” I smiled excitedly at the young woman as I turned with an “Oh, thank….” But the tiny lady in the blue shirt who had helped us was gone. We looked around everywhere for her but she, too, had disappeared in seconds.

Would you believe that the subway car opened its doors directly in front of us? Yes, it did. And we were able to get back to the airport, to a shuttle and to the hotel to begin healing about 15 minutes later.

I have no plans to go back to Atlanta and the Georgia Dome any time in the future. But one thing I do know: if I ever ride the MARTA again, God will provide angels on the subway to get me home.

Father, you are amazing. Being lost in an unfamiliar place may not be hard for some people but it is for me. Thank you for sending help just when I needed it. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up
Have you ever been in a situation where you panicked because you were “lost” as to what to do and received help from a stranger?

The next time you are confronted with a problem with seemingly no solution, ask the Lord to send help to you and watch as He is faithful.

Power Verses
Exodus 23:20 (NIV) “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”
Psalm 91:11-12 (NIV) “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Luke 4:10 (NIV) “For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;”
Hebrews 1:14 (NIV) “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
Hebrews 13:2 (NIV) “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

(Nancy Hughes is an author and motivational speaker from Lamar. You can find more of her writing and information about her books on her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

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