Lifted Up In Their Hands

"For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." Psalm 91:11-12

Two years after we arrived in the Congo, my parents purchased a 1957 Mercedes Army truck which we affectionately named, "The Jolly Green Giant." The vehicle weighed seven tons empty. It was a massive hulk of steel and power, especially when Dad pulled out all the stops and put it into four-wheel drive. I felt safe and secure in its hugeness as we traveled the mud or sand paths that were Congo's roads. If any vehicle could get through those trails in the bush, the Jolly Green Giant surely could. We could always measure the size of the bridge over any stream, and my father's confidence in its ability to carry the truck's weight, by whether or not he allowed us to stay on the vehicle while crossing. Many of those bridges were just logs sawn in half and laid over the stream beneath it. We would often hear Dad say, "Everyone off!" and we would walk across the bridge before he crossed over it with the vehicle.

One of those bridges, unlike the others, looked well-constructed to me, but I heard Dad's familiar, "Everyone off!" High up off the surface, its length covered a large expanse of water and reminded me of the old covered bridges in this country. Mom, Nicol, Todd, Jack, and I walked across the bridge to the other side to wait for Dad to bring the Jolly Green Giant toward us. We all breathed a sigh of relief as Dad safely navigated the bridge. As we were standing there, a smaller vehicle zoomed past us. We all turned to watch it speed across the same bridge. About three-quarters of the way over the bridge, we heard the sickening crack of the boards. No sooner had the truck's back tires grabbed the dirt road as they left the last wooden plank on the other side, than the bridge collapsed and fell into the water below. My family and I let out an audible gasp together at the unbelievable sight in front of us. I shivered at the thought of what could have happened to my two-year-old brother, Jack, who did not know how to swim, if we had all been plunged into the fast-moving current. It was as if the bridge gave its final strength to hold up for that last vehicle and then disintegrated in the effort.

There is much mystery surrounding angels. The book of Hebrews tells me one of the reasons why angels were created by God:

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14

I can easily fool myself into thinking that I have all the bases covered--that somehow I am in control of my own destiny. That picture of the bridge breaking up before my eyes revealed to me how completely out of control I was of my circumstances. But my courage is found in the fact that my God has charged angelic beings to guard me in all my ways. Who kept that bridge together that day in the Congo? I believe that my heavenly Father commanded His angels to hold those planks of wood in place until all of our family was safely across to the other side. When fear comes to meet me with all its terrifying scenarios that want to play out in my mind, I need to remember the angels who are supporting me and my precious loved ones in their hands. They are lifting them up when I cannot be there. Because that is the truth, I am free to live out my God-given purpose today without the paralyzing enemy of fear hanging over my head. That is freedom.

Jesus, thank You that You control my destiny, not my fear. Heaven will show me all that I have been protected from because of the angels You have commanded to lift me up in their hands.