Tonight's entry is by Doug White, a college friend from Harding University and now a pharmacist in Louisiana. Doug is a Biblical scholar and edits a great bulletin for his congregation. Prayers for me in Vietnam!
Several years ago, my wife and I flew to London to give some moral support to my brother, who was in a child custody battle with his ex, in the British court system. We had never traveled outside the US so we had some trepidation, to say the least.
But, looking forward to London and some days exploring the English countryside, off we went. The final leg of the flight, into London's Gatwick airport, was some 9-10 non stop hours. For anyone who has ever flown a fairly long distance, you know that sleep if fitful, and in VERY small bursts, at it's best (Steve Hawley can attest). You can try those prop up pillows, Melatonin, Benadryl, staying up 24 hours before you leave, etc. but quality sleep in an upright airliner full of people and working stewardesses, is evasive.
A brief note about London's Gatwick airport which may not be as familiar as it's big brother Heathrow. Gatwick is the second busiest, by passenger count, airport in all of England, and the 9th busiest in all of Europe. It is the number one busiest airport for flights into and out of Europe and it has the single busiest runway in all of the world. Needless to say, it is busy and busy means tens of thousands of humans going in and out of the facility 24/7.
We landed at Gatwick at around 9:30 AM local time. But, it was around 2:30 AM our body time with virtually zero sleep in the last 36 hours. Needless to say, we were whipped.
We exited the aircraft and as we came out of the jetway into the terminal we looked out upon a sea of people. People going left, right, North and South, non stop. It was as if someone had taken 100,000 Super Bowl attendants and dumped every one of them into a hotel lobby. Absolute chaos, and us running on fumes and still having to wait no telling how long to get our bags and then, doing something akin to going to the dentist, standing in the Customs line along with thousands of others. Awful!
We had not walked 50 feet out into the madhouse, heading towards baggage claim, when we spotted a man in a golf cart going against the flow of humanity, headed in our direction. No great revelation there. Any airport traveler sees these folks on a regular basis, hauling the elderly and infirmed to and fro.
But, in this case, the gentleman drove past everyone and came right up to us and stopped! He was non descript, mid 50's khaki pants, short sleeve casual shirt. He said in his proper British accent, "Hello folks, would you like a lift to bagage claim?" Why certainly we would! We melted into the golf cart.
He turned around and said, "Give me your passports," and we dutifully obeyed.
He headed through the throng of people and we approached the dreaded custom's line, where there must have been 50 lines of a hundred folks standing in each one. He drove to the very end of the customs area and as he approached the agent he simply held up our two passports and the agent just nodded and waved him on through without a word spoken between them! We were in the country, just like that!
We proceeded to be 'taxied' to baggage claim where he waited for our luggage to come around the carousel. He retrieved them and loaded them on his cart and off we went.
We were promptly delivered to the main exit of Gatwick airport where he hailed a waiting cab for us, loaded our bags in the back and we were off to London. Total time from departing jetway to customs, baggage and out the door of the airport through the throng of thousands? Probably 15 minutes, tops, with maybe that many steps taken.
Our conversation about it on the ride to our hotel? "That sure was nice of that guy to pick us up."
"Yep, went by all of those people and got us. Lucky break for us."
Fast forward. 10 days.
We reverse the process and arrive by cab at Gatwick. This time at 9:30 PM local for the return flight.
We exit the cab, gather our bags, and enter the main door of the airport. Heading towards the dreaded customs line.
We are 10 steps inside the airport and what do we observe? A man on a golf cart approaching our direction. He continues to close and eventually stops right beside us!
Once again, in his proper British accent, "Would you folks like a ride?" "Sure."
"Let me have your passports," he says. And we comply.
He loads our bags on the back and off we go towards customs. As we approach the customs line, still 50 rows and a hundred deep in each, he drives around the end, holds up our passports, and he gets waved on through without stopping.
He takes us directly to the airline counter where we check in ( he waits for us) and then he transports us to our gate and we say our thanks and farewells.
Total time and steps from taxi exit to being seated at our gate in an international airport at 10 PM at night? 15 and 15!
What did this man look like, 10 days later and at 10 PM as opposed to 10 AM? EXACTLY the same as 10 days earlier. Mid fifties, khaki pants and short sleeve dress shirt.
Me: "Man, what a break that was. Getting that man's help. Singled out among all of these other folks."
Wife: "He was an angel. Before we left, I knew we had never been out of the country and I prayed that we would be safe and that the trip would go smoothly."
In Hebrews 1:14 the writer tells us what he feels we should aleady know, when he says, that angels are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister those who shall inherit salvation?
In Psalm 103 the Word tells us that the angels do His command, listening to the voice of His Word.
Psalm 91:11 For He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You in all Your ways.
And on and on we could go with the angel Scriptures.
"Minister, do His commands, keep you in ALL your ways.?' Not hard for me to understand.
Over the decades we have come to a place where we have not studied angels personally, and in our congregations, and that has resulted in a lack of knowledge, and even sadder, a lack of recogniton, of God's angels.
Many today think they were just some beings that hung around in the Old Testament, but are not active today. Sad.
There is enough information in the Scriptures for someone to teach a 3 month Bible class on nothing but Angels. (Hint hint)
Romans 1 tells us that the creation shows us of God, i.e. trees, flowers, butterflies, clouds, etc. And, as we should be seeing (recognizing) the Creator in these daily things, we should also be paying attention and recognizing our angels when they appear in our lives. And..............thank the One Who sent them!
God bless, Steve Luke 18:1 E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org