59: The Messenger

59: The Messenger

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

The Messenger

An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision.

~St. Thomas Aquinas

I was the advertising manager for Harveys, an independently owned chain of department stores in Nashville, Tennessee. Although I received a decent salary and benefits, it was a middle management position with lots of responsibility and little authority. Frustrated and burned out, I clung to my illusions of safety, security and survival. My marriage was not in great shape, either.

In early June, my husband and I left on a vacation. As we pulled out of our driveway, my inner voice softly announced, “You’re going to meet someone.”

The days passed quickly. We left Fort Myers, Florida and headed for Jacksonville. The trip had been pleasant but uneventful. Again my inner voice said, “You’re going to meet someone.” Frustrated, I chose to ignore it because there was only one more stop, a brief visit with one of my favorite people — my Uncle Bob. He was working on a temporary job assignment in the small, sleepy southern township of Jesup, Georgia. How could I possibly meet anyone of importance on this trip?

We arrived in Jesup around noon, and Uncle Bob suggested lunch at a place called Suzie’s. Located on a quiet, graveled side street, it was a down-home kind of place with country cooking and hearty meals served family style.

The aroma of fried chicken welcomed us and we found three vacant ladder-backed chairs at the end of a long table. On my left sat an elderly couple who appeared to be in their eighties. They were busy filling their plates, but the woman eagerly passed bowls to us as she chattered away. She seemed grateful for the company and wanted to talk. For the past three weeks her husband had been in the hospital and lunch at Suzie’s was their first outing in months. She talked; I listened. Her husband interjected a few words, but mostly he ate in silence. What choice did he have?

I glanced across the table at Uncle Bob and shrugged, disappointed at finding myself trapped in a non-stop monologue by this stranger who claimed my full attention.

When the meal was finished, my husband and Uncle Bob pushed back their chairs from the table. At the same time, the couple rose. A man of few words during the meal, her husband walked around the table and introduced himself to the three of us.

As the rest of my party started toward the cash register, I remained seated, searching for my purse under the table. When I sat up, the stranger was bending down by my chair. He looked me right in the eyes. “Be good to yourself,” he said softly.

“I try to be,” I said, smiling up at him, somewhat confused.

“I’m serious, little lady; be good to yourself,” he repeated.

A chill ran up my spine. I turned to look for his wife, but she had disappeared. We were alone.

The man walked around to the other side of my chair so that his back was to most of the room. Then, he leaned down until his mouth was close to my ear.

“I don’t want you to worry,” the stranger said with studied calmness, “no matter what happens. Don’t be anxious or get depressed. And don’t be concerned about money.” He let that sink in and continued. “Just remember, there’s no trouble you can get into that God can’t get you out of. Just let go of it, and let God handle it. He will take care of you.”

Again, he paused as if for emphasis. “Remember, no matter what happens, you’re in good hands.”

With that he turned and walked quickly away.

For a moment, I sat stunned and immobile with a chill spreading from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, knowing in my heart, I had met a messenger from God. I looked around for him, but the man had disappeared. His message didn’t make sense to me at the moment because I wasn’t particularly concerned about money. Apparently he knew something that I didn’t.

When I arrived home the next day, I called the office to see how things were going. To my dismay, I found the company I worked for had been sold.

By August, at the age of forty-two — for the first time in my life since I began working at the age of fifteen — I was unemployed. If that weren’t enough, that major event was followed by a close encounter with a hurricane, a serious illness, a divorce and major concerns about money.

During all these difficulties, I kept hearing the stranger’s words, remembering the promise, knowing God doesn’t create the challenging situations in our lives, but He does provide the strength and Grace to get us through them, and most importantly, to learn from them.

Over the last several years, along with millions of other people, I’ve learned there is no such thing as security in the outer world. Any of us can lose our job, our mate, our home, the peaceful nature of our existence, our wealth and even our health. Yet, our hearts, minds and spirits can store up an unlimited abundance that no place, person or thing can take from us — strength of spirit, faith, and love, our own inner peace, awareness and wisdom.

The message was not just for me, it is for everyone — for now, for always, in all ways — “You are in good hands.”

It’s something you can take to the bank.

~Karen Trotter Elley

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