Angels Watching Over Me

I am guilty of not thinking of heaven enough or all the ways in which heaven touches earth.

I think I haven’t truly grasped what it means to belong. To belong to God to be truly His own. To have an inheritance in heaven. To have angel armies that surround me and protect me from the forces of evil. With this in mind I want to be braver. To worry less about the future. To worry less about who I am and what I’ll do. To worry less about this temporary world and remember how loved I am by all of heaven.

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The River

I live near Pittsburgh a city known for potholes, food, artistic bridges, and lots and lots of rivers. Right now I’m temping downtown and have the luxury of walking along one of these beautiful rivers during my breaks. It’s absolutely gorgeous but I noticed something funny. When I’m worrying about something or trying to figure something out I look down towards the sidewalk and focus only on the path. I found that I actually had to remind myself to look at the river, to take in the beautiful view of the city, to watch the geese and their babies waddle across the way.

I found myself wishing it wasn’t so easy to have that tunnel vision, eyes on the path and not on God or the wider world He made me a part of.  It even made me a little sad as I realized how much beauty, how much life from animals to my fellow walkers that I had been missing out on by being so focused on myself. It’s easy to do that in times of uncertainty, times of sorrow and I think if I were to share with you some of my struggles you might forgive me but I couldn’t justify it to myself today when I remembered my call as a Christian, a call to love, a call to trust but most especially a call to let God love me as He desires to even when tomorrow is uncertain, even when I deserve it the least because it’s during those times that He gives me the most even when I don’t see it, feel it or understand it. And I found myself promising to be more patient with God, to try and surrender enough to truly let Him finish this beautiful work He began in me and above all trusting that everything will be alright because one day I’ll see the face of God in Heaven.

Playing the Part 

I remember back when I lived in Virginia I used to go to Blackfriar’s Playhouse pretty frequently because of the amazingly talented actors and authentic rendition of Shakespeare’s many plays. (If that makes me hopelessly nerdy in your eyes so be it!)

One night during a production of the comedy “The Merchant of Venice” I remember being struck by one specific actor. He was not the lead of the play. In fact, he was the opposite. He drew my attention because I realized during the course of the show that he played at least 6 different minor roles each with a different costume and having only a few sentences of lines.

I was especially impressed with his ability to keep up with that many characters because I knew that in his shoes I would have made colossal mistakes. Being a very dramatic adolescent with a lot of insignificant child acting under my belt, I imagine I would have walked on stage in the wrong costume or forgotten when I needed to be on stage or said the wrong line…  In short, I realized that a mistake in that role could have dramatically influenced the flow of the play and the overall quality of the show itself, even though the parts he played we’re deemed so insignificant that they only cast one actor to play them all.

Yet in a moment of theater magic, I was touched by the realization that without every single role in that show, without each minor character to offer a line of transition or deliver a message or provide a moment of comic relief the show would not have been everything it was that night.

We live in a world that has the terrible habit of trying to elevate the best of humanity to Divine heights. We “worship” leading men and leading ladies, the most athletic, the smartest, the richest, most influential, or the best looking. We place them on pedestals and endeavor to be like them, holding them as our models of achievement with our purpose in life tied to the degree of what we attain of that “glory.”

Yet, as often as the pride of humanity is flaunted as the satisfaction of our desires and a vindication of our existence I can’t help but stumble once more over my minor character actor and the nagging truth he pointed me towards. A truth that convicts me that this towering pride blinds to the humble reality of life, that in the quest to exalt the individual self we are blinded to our part in the whole story. Just like the minor characters each had a part to play in order for the show to go on, so too do we.

You and I are absolutely unique. Not only were we made by God we we’re made for a purpose and a glory that we cannot yet know as the story is still unfolding in time.  And I think a lot of joy gets lost in a quest for mere worldly glory for two reasons. First, because worldly glory does not satisfy and leaves one ever restless. Second, because it steals the dignity we inherently have from being made in the image and likeness of God by making that dignity conditional.

But I propose that this set of actors are wiser than our media pundits, celebrities, athletes and other influencers because when the show was over they each came out and took their bow with a smile on their face. While I’m sure they were content in their hard work and dedication to their craft which made the overall performance excellent, I think their true joy was not in being perfect but in knowing that they had been part of something amazing together, something that would not have been possible without each and every person on that stage playing their part exactly as they were meant to.

I think the joy of heaven, and the joy of life on earth, is not in finding ourselves but in finding God and realizing that not only is He perfect love, but He makes each and every one of us a part of that love. That our glory will be not a monument like a towering tombstone but a reflection like a mirror of the love we’ve chased after and at last embraced, the love we became by being loved first by God.

And I’m sure that whether we were a lead or held the door for them, whether we were noted for our poetic musings or for sheepishly cracking a joke, we will be perfectly content with our part once we see it in the light of that final vision and behold the majesty of Heaven, because “eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).