This week I was reading about the Latter-Day Saints hand-cart exodus to the Salt Lake Valley. Two handcart companies got a late start, the Willey and Martin Companies. They had hardship after hardship, from running out of food to being stranded on the plains of Wyoming in an early-season blizzard, waiting for help to arrive.
One of the journal entries from one of those companies was from a woman who had escaped an abusive husband in England, came over with her two small children by boat, and eventually made it into one of these companies, pulling her handcart by herself with her children tucked inside.
At one point, when most of the company was nearly starving, she went out to collect buffalo chips (they used them to build fires for cooking when wood was scarce), and suddenly a man appeared in front of her. He asked her about the company, and she admitted they were starving. He told her he thought he might be able to help. Following him to a nearby cave, she was amazed to find racks of drying meat hanging in the cave. He helped her fill her apron full of the dried meat and asked her to share it with the company. Overwhelmed, she nodded and left the cave, hurrying toward the camp with her newfound bounty. Only after a few minutes did she realize that she hadn’t thanked the man. So, she turned around and retraced her steps. Not only was the man nowhere to be found, but there was no cave in the hill either. Those in the company called it a miracle and decided that surely the man must have been an angel.
Really? An angel? Aren’t those just Bible stories that happened a long time ago?
I think you might be surprised.
The website ThoughtCo shared true stories of angel encounters. Here are a few of those stories:
“Jackie B. believes that her guardian angel came to her aid on two occasions to help her avoid serious injury. According to her testimony, she actually physically felt and heard this protective force. Both encounters happened when she was a child of kindergarten age.
The first experience took place at a popular sledding hill, where Jackie was enjoying the day with her family. The young girl decided to try sledding down the steepest part of the hill. She closed her eyes and started down.
“I apparently hit someone going down and I was spinning out of control. I was heading for the metal guardrail. I didn’t know what to do,” says Jackie. “I suddenly felt something push my chest down. I came within less than a half inch of the rail but didn’t hit it. I could have lost my nose.”
Jackie’s second experience occurred during her birthday celebration at school. She had run across the playground to place her crown on a bench. While running back to her friends, three boys tripped her.
The playground was filled with metal objects and wood chips. Jackie went flying, and something hit her just below the eye.
“But I felt something pull me back when I fell,” Jackie says. “The teachers said that they saw me sort of fly forward then fly back at the same time. As they hurried me to the nurse’s office, I heard an unfamiliar voice keep telling me, ‘Don’t worry. I’m here. God doesn’t want anything to happen to his baby.'”
“In 1998, Luke was diagnosed with bone cancer at the tender age of eight. As sometimes happens, he came down with an infection, which meant he had to go to the hospital. He was there for about two weeks, and that’s when something remarkable happened.
One evening, Luke’s mother was sitting at his bedside quietly praying as he slept. A nurse came into the room to check Luke’s temperature, but his mother noted something rather peculiar about her.
The nurse was wearing an old-fashioned uniform of the type that would have been common 30 years earlier, in the 1960s. The nurse noticed that Luke’s mother had a Bible by the side of his bed. She said that she was a Christian, too, and said she would pray for Luke’s healing.
Luke’s family had never seen this odd nurse before, and they never saw her again in Luke’s remaining time at the hospital.
“I came out of the hospital fully healed of my infection,” says Luke, who was 19 when he told his story. Remarkably, he is now completely free of cancer.
“My mom believes this nurse could have been a guardian angel coming down to give my mom some hope,” Luke says. “If she wasn’t an angel, why would she be wearing 1960s old-fashioned nurse clothing?”
“Back in 1980, Deb was a single mother with two infants living in San Bernardino County, California. She occasionally needed reliable babysitters.
Fortunately, her parents lived only about 30 miles away in Alta Loma. Deb would usually drop off the children at her parents’ house, go do what she needed to do, then pick them up in the evening.
One night, Deb had retrieved her babies from her parents’ place and was heading home. It was relatively late, about 11:30 p.m. Deb was driving her “old clunker.” Among the car’s many deficiencies, the gas gauge was broken, requiring her to guess when the old thing needed fuel. Occasionally, her guessing was off.
“Halfway home, the car started to putter,” Deb remembers, “and I realized I was on empty. I pulled off the first off-ramp I could, and it just happened to be one that was slightly uphill. Almost at the top of the exit, my car died, and there was absolutely nothing around except empty fields and distant lights at a truck stop about a quarter of a mile down the road.
With no cars in sight, Deb didn’t know what to do. The kids were asleep and walking miles while carrying two kids in the middle of the night was not a good option. This was before cell phones, so she could not call for help.
“I put my head on the steering wheel while saying a short and panicky prayer,” she says. “I hadn’t even finished when I heard a few taps on my window.”
When she looked up, she saw a clean-cut young man standing there, who Deb estimated to be about 21 years old. He motioned for her to roll down her window. “I remember I was surprised,” Deb says, “but I wasn’t even the slightest bit afraid, even though I normally would have been terrified.”
The young man was dressed well and had a faint smell of soap. He didn’t ask if she needed help. Instead, he told her to put the car in neutral, and he would help her over that last, small hill toward a place where she could get gas.
“I thanked him and followed his instructions. The car started moving. I steered it toward the lights of the truck stop and turned around to yell ‘thank you’ again to him,” Deb says.
“He was so nice! My car kept moving, but the young man was nowhere in sight. I mean, this area was completely remote. There was absolutely nowhere he could have gone that quickly, even if there was somewhere to go. I don’t even know where he came from, to begin with.”
Deb’s car continued to roll down the hill until it reached the truck stop. She was able to get the gas she needed, and the kids remained sound asleep.
“I’ve always trusted in God to take care of us, but in relating that story many times to my children, who are now 30 and 32, they know for a fact that angels do exist and are sent to us if we just believe.
“I always thought it was so amazing that we were sent someone who I would trust instinctively without question. Since that incident, I’ve come to believe that we probably encounter angels all the time and take for granted who they really are. I think they come in all shapes and sizes, young and old, and sometimes when we least expect them.”
Do we encounter angels all the time, but don’t realize it? Or does God just put the right people in our path at the right time?
Here are some more examples to help you decide. The next few stories are from Ranker.com:
“When I was in my 20s, I spent four years traveling the world. I was in South Africa, just outside Durban, and a friend had taken me on his motorbike to his favorite waterfall. We had both been swimming, but I got cold and went to sit on a patch of green grass. To get there, I had to step from the sand I was on, over a log, and then across a bit to the grass. I was walking medium speed, and lifted one foot to step over the log, when a VERY loud booming masculine voice shouted, “STOP!” Except the shout wasn’t heard with my ears, it was inside my head. Hard to explain. Also, there was nobody else around except Tim and me, and he was still happily swimming.
I stopped, wondering what had just happened. I still had my foot in the air above the log. I looked around and spotted what I thought was a leaf waving about six inches from my big toe. It took me a few seconds to realize that it wasn’t a leaf, but a snake. A black mamba. He had his head raised and was licking the air right near my toe. He was waiting to see what my next move was to be, and he had seen me long before I saw him. I slowly backed up and walked very carefully backwards to where Tim was. I have no explanation for the voice that I heard, except that it was so loud and was inside my head rather than heard with my ears, and it came at a time when I didn’t feel in any danger at all – in fact, I was very calm and happy. I feel that it was my guardian angel who shouted at me to stop, as I would have stepped right on the snake. My guardian angel saved my life.”
“I was free-climbing a thirty-foot cliff face once. The face was mostly shale rock with plenty of handholds, and I was young and dumb.
Two-thirds of the way up, my left handhold broke free as I was reaching with my right and I started to fall. You know that feeling when you are tilting back in a chair, and you tilt just a little too far? That’s exactly what I felt. I started to fall backward, and everything got real slow. I knew I was going to die or at best be crippled.
I felt a hand gently press against my back, right between my shoulder blades. It felt like a perfectly normal right hand, and it pushed me back against the rock face. I took a moment to steady myself, I was pretty shaken up, and then I climbed down to safety.
I am inclined to believe that it was a guardian angel, but that is solely based on my religious background, and I don’t know where said guardian angel was when I got hit by a car. I suppose it could have been a hallucination, but I don’t use drugs, and I wasn’t on any medications. I’ll probably never know what happened, but I am very thankful that I didn’t fall.”
“My friend and I were sitting at a traffic light very late one night when his car just stalled. He tried and tried to get it to restart, but we couldn’t get it going. We jumped out to push it into the parking lot of a gas station that was next to where the car died.
We were having trouble getting it up an incline when out of nowhere this guy came jogging up from the direction of the gas station. He got on the other side of the car and helped me push it up the incline, out of the street and into the lot. We thanked him for his help, and he took off.
Just then a car came speeding around a curve and blew through the intersection where the car was just a minute before. My bud and I were shocked because if that guy didn’t show up when he did, we would have been hit by that car. We turned back around to say thank the guy again, but he was gone, just disappeared into thin air. I truly believe he was an angel, sent to protect us that night.”