While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
- Luke 24:4
Wouldn’t it be great to have angels appear every time you’re confused? “Your keys are in the refrigerator.” “It’s April already.” “Chick-fil-a is closed on Sunday.” “The writer is demonstrating how angelic messengers might provide helpful clarity when you’re confused by giving examples of times he’s felt confused.”
Angelic clarifications and explanations happen several times throughout the Bible. They often appear at key transition point and defining moments in the life of the people of God. They almost always provoke a terrified response on the part of the people who see them. They don’t happen to most of us.
In fact, we feel like we can confidently say that most Christians through most of history have gone through most of their lives without ever receiving an angelic visitation. Huge decisions have been made and people have risked their homes, families, and lives without ever hearing from a single angel.
Why doesn’t God make this extraordinary circumstance more ordinary?
Here are three ideas …
First, God gives us tons of direction and guidance through the scriptures. The bulk of what we need to know and do has already been communicated to us. We don’t need special messengers to tell us what we already know we should do; we just need to do it.
Second, God speaks to us directly by his Holy Spirit who works in us through our conscience. Rather than routing his messages through angels, he’d rather communicate with us himself, the way a good, good Father communicates with children who he loves.
Finally, God isn’t primarily interested in informing us; instead, he is at work forming and transforming us. There’s something about stepping forward without certainty that shapes our capacity to trust, to remain humble, to show compassion, and ultimately to love. If a steady stream of angelic messengers would remove from us the opportunity for us to grow in love and dependence upon God, he wouldn’t do it.
Lean into your non-angelic experience. Read the Gospels. Listen to the Spirit as he tunes your conscience. Take humble steps of faith. The angels are watching and cheering us on.