See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.–Exodus 23:20 (NLT)
Many people have immigrated to Los Angeles (California), but few have ever recognized that the angels were guiding them in their exodus as God promised the Israelites. Is it true that God will send an angel to help today’s immigrants?
When I was a young man working in Mexico, we got lost on the way to Tampico. A seemingly interminable line of traffic formed and we didn’t know where we were nor where the traffic was going. As we went further along, we realized that everyone was waiting to board a ferry that would transport them to the other side of a large lake. We could not turn around nor did we know how to get our car onto the ferry.
All of the sudden, a man appeared who took charge of us. Although I could barely speak Spanish at the time, he kindly helped me understand that we were going the right way and that we had no choice except to cross the lake. He helped us get on the ferry, protecting us from the terrible disorder and the many people that competed with us to board the ferry. He showed us on a map where to go to arrive at our destination. When we reached the other side, he left in his automobile and I never saw him again. The only thing that convinced me that he was not an angel was the business card he gave me that indicated that he was an auto parts salesman.
I have never seen an angel, but the concept of guardian angels is rooted in Biblical tradition and is reflected in Acts 12:15, where the disciples supposed that Peter’s angel had come to their door. Psalm 91:11-12 says that, for those who dwell in the Lord, “he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.” (NLT) The immigrant who dwells in the shadow of the All-Powerful God can know that, just like God sent his angel to guide Israel in their exodus, God will do the same for him or her.
If you are not an immigrant, “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” (Hebrews 13:2). Like the Mexican who helped me cross the water, the immigrant who crosses your path may be the very angel God has sent you.
Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry. All Rights Reserved. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is president of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. He is the author of The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants are Renewing America’s Faith (forthcoming in August 2015, Worthy Publishing). Follow him on Twitter @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.