Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? –Hebrews 1:14 (NIV)
At 89, Chuck Swindoll is in his seventh decade of writing, teaching, and ministry. In a recent message, he recalled a shocking story he heard years earlier from his professor, Charles Ryrie, when Swindoll had been a seminary student. A distinguished scholar, Ryrie wrote The Ryrie Study Bible that has sold over 2 million copies.
Here is Swindoll’s retelling of the account:
“I’ll never forget, this missionary had been many years overseas and came home for furlough, which was packed with meetings. Late one evening he left for a long journey that required his driving through the night to arrive at his destination the next morning, and it was raining, and he felt displaced and kind of down. And he said, ‘Lord, I ask you to just bring somebody along that’ll be a companion.’
“And even though he never picked up hitchhikers, he turned around a bend and there out in the rain stood a man, and he pulled over and he invited him in. Found out he was a believer. In fact they knew a lot of the same people. It was a great time of talking and even praying, they did some singing together.
“And finally dawn came and he said, ‘Let’s get a cup of coffee’ so he pulled over and they sat down at the table and talked there for awhile in a tiny café.
“The fellow said, ‘This is where I get off, this is my destination’ and he left.
“Our missionary friend got back in his car and drove off and he thought, ‘I forgot to get his name! I’d love to stay in touch with that brother.’
“So he turned around and he drove back and he was gone. He said to the cook, ‘Did you happen to see which way the fellow went that I was with?’
“And the cook said, ‘What fellow? I wondered why you ordered two cups of coffee.’
“He looked over, and there was a cup, still full of coffee.
“And he said he suddenly realized, when the man had gotten in his car the night before, he wasn’t wet.”
There are supernatural beings around us, and sometimes they are incognito. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (NIV).
Take the next step: When you pray, be open to God answering your prayer in a way you can’t imagine.
Go deeper: Hear Chuck tell this story in this podcast episode, “It’s Best to Rest.”