Leaving home on a three-day journey to Florida has been … challenging. One of the most trying aspects has been the vulnerability I have felt. We are leaving at one of the lowest points of our lives. We have so few resources on hand – and the thought of traveling in that state is daunting. So when disaster struck at our first gas stop, we felt the fear on quite a few levels.

It was a normal stop to start. We pulled into a BP Station. We had moved Michael’s seat from behind the passenger seat to behind the driver’s seat so that she would be able to reach him easier. It is also the same side as the gas tank. So while Martha opened the door for Michael and waited for him to take off his belt, I swiped our credit card, lifted the nozzle, and turned to put it in the gas tank. I pressed the “87” button as I turned. As I did, the hose fired a short burst of gasoline. In a freak set of circumstances, that bit of gasoline shot out and hit my 4-year-old son directly in the face as he turned around to get out of the car.

The next few moments were awful. As it registered to me that it has hit him, it registered to him as well. He let out one of the worst screams I have ever heard. Martha held him as we tried to figure out what had happened (he had his sunglasses on at the time). When we finally realized it, I told her to get him inside and flush it out, moving slightly slower since my foot was still in a wrap.

When we got to the door, a man held it open for us and took us back to the women’s restroom (thankfully empty). This stranger held Michael, flushed his eye, and reassured us all that he would be okay. After some time, Michael calmed down. As we looked around to thank our helper … he was gone. He had come out of nowhere and went into nowhere.

It’s not the first time this has happened in our relationship and it always baffles us. What are these strange occurrences? There are certainly those who believe that they are random human encounters – the right person in the right place at the right time. There may be those who believe they are something more spiritual – even an encounter with an angel. Psalm 91 addresses those who put their faith in God. He will put his angels in charge over that person.

I will admit that I have a strong grasp of theology – inasmuch is possible – when it comes to the godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – but I am somewhat less studied in the concept of angels. But interestingly, I was led to Hebrews 13. “Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (vs 1-2, NASB).

Our encounter, besides teaching us to be more careful at the pump, is a reminder that angels can be human or spiritual, and we need to be “angels” whenever possible. We are thankful for the presence who was there with us in a moment of concern to help us – as well as the countless others who have helped us on our journey. Our prayers is always that those who are the angels will have other angels watching out for them.

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