How do we know when an angel comes?

Sometimes people are graced with a vision of a glowing, heavenly being. On other occasions, someone might encounter an ordinary-looking stranger, who brings help or consolation just in the nick of time; it is not until later, when this person disappears, that we begin to wonder just who he (or she) was.

However, the vast majority of "angel activity" seems to occur behind the scenes. The close call on the expressway, the falling tree that just misses your house, protection against fierce winds or rain---we're likely to call these things "lucky breaks" or instincts. But could they also be due to a cadre of invisible bodyguards, shunning publicity as they silently guard us from countless mishaps? Perhaps they prefer that attention be focused mainly on God (as it should be), and wish only to carry out His commands, and then fade into the background once again.

A typical example involves Grace Romeno of Aztec, New Mexico, and her family. Her first grandson, Timothy, was born in August, 1992, and turned out to be a very active baby, walking early and getting into everything. At that time Grace and her husband lived in a mobile home, and had set up a system for recycling. "We had two barrels sitting outside one of our windows," she says. "One held aluminium cans, and the other was for glass. Timothy's favorite activity was to throw a bottle or can out of the window into one of the barrels. Of course, one of us was always with him when he did that."

One day, all of the adults were outside talking with one another, when they heard a noise coming from inside the mobile home. Timothy's mother looked inside, and screamed! Eighteen-month-old Timothy had somehow opened the "recycling" window and was sitting on the back of the couch, leaning out. "Timothy!" She cried, just as the toddler fell out the window.

"We all ran for the other side of the house, where the barrels were," Grace remembers. "There was no way he could have avoided toppling head first right into the one with all the broken glass in it." But when the adults got around to the other side, Timothy was lying on his back inside the barrel. Yet apparently not touching any of the glass beneath him. "It was as if someone was holding him up," Grace says. "We all saw it. He wasn't even crying."

Grace lifted him out, and took off his shirt. Not a scratch on his back. No marks on his arms or legs either. She looked inside the barrel, right at a piece of jagged glass sticking straight up. How could Timothy have missed falling on it?

But Grace knew the answer. "I thanked his guardian angel that day-and everyday since-for watching over him," she says. She doesn't have to see angels to know they're thereI

Joan Wester Anderson

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