“How then can evil overtake me or any plague come near? For He orders His angels to protect you wherever you go.” (Psalm 91:10-11)
There is another Parole testimony which lives in my heart as a constant reminder of the Lord’s presence and protection as we serve Him. I covered two Harlem precincts as a Parole Officer, the 28 and the 32. Within the 32nd Precinct stand the infamous Polo Grounds, a huge concentration of city housing projects built upon the former baseball field.
These buildings are a hotbed for crime and gangs, ergo I had many assignments here. It was a good thing for ‘one stop shopping’ – I could make many home visits and curfew checks in one location. However, it was dangerous as well. Over the years I came to know many of the parolees and their families here, had many ‘meet and greet’ moments on walkways and lobbies and often had open doors to share the Gospel. However, during one early morning curfew check, the encounter was not friendly at all…
It was a bit past 5am, I hopped off the city bus and walked briskly down the project’s walkway. The sun had not yet risen over the city high risers but it was not dark. I passed by the park benches in the grassy area and took a mental photo of 5 youths sitting upon the bench and atop the bench back – five gang members who apparently ‘broke night’. They clocked me as I walked past but did not move. A warning pang struck me as I entered the building and pushed the elevator button – however, I was obviously alone.
When the elevator door opened I was still alone – I quickly stepped in but before I could press any button those 5 youths jumped in and the decrepit doors shut behind them.
A powerful ‘oh crap’ moment struck me – bum-rush, disarm, rape and worse flashed in my mind. “Lord!” was the cry in my heart, but before they could reach the floor buttons…
the elevator doors flew open for one second – I jumped out – the doors slammed shut! …the elevator quickly lifted away!
Those moments, deeply etched in my heart, are a continual reminder to me of God’s presence as we walk in His will and His power to intervene. I do believe that angels operated that elevator, confounding wicked plans. (After thanking God and gaining composure, I actually did take another elevator and made the visit!)
The word of God describes many angelic interventions, there is no doubt of their endowed power, evidenced through the Old and New Testament. While it is Biblical for believers to accept the presence of angels it is not Biblical or godly to engage angels or place our faith in these servants of God. They are dispatched by God alone and exist to enact His commands and will. We should be aware though, as demonic spirits influence and darken the world around us, our God has more powerful beings to launch on behalf of His beloved, us.
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)
The essential truth that marks my heart from those memorable moments is this: if we are walking in obedience to God’s will, if we are where He has placed us and busy at what He assigns, we are backed by heaven. God will go before us, protect us, and sovereignly bring His plan to fruition.
Thank you Lord for Your presence and intervention in our lives even if we don’t see it. Let us walk in total assurance that our names are “engraved in the palm of Your hand” and, as the Lord promises, “no one will snatch them out of My hand.” Help us to obey and trust in Your word, serving as You assign and plan our lives. Amen.