Stella Peterson had just come from visiting her grandparents and was aching to find someone to talk to, to tell them the story she had just heard. She tried finding Bernadette, she tried finding Tracy, She tried finding Mindy and Cindy she even tried to talk to her brother but no-one was around and if they were they didn't have time to listen but then she bumped into Gladys.
“Do I know you young lady?” Gladys said and than finished her sentence before Stella could answer, “You're Hero Harold's sister aren't you. Stella, I think. Do you always walk around bumping into people?” “I'm sorry.” Stella said and then burst into laughter. “You think that's funny?” Gladys said in disgust. “No.” Stella said “But what I heard was.” and then Stella started snorting she was laughing so hard. That was the wrong thing to say.
Gladys, being the town gossip and all, was all ears when she heard that and couldn't wait to hear more. “What's so funny?” she asked. “You won't believe it.” Stella said through her laughter, “ Grampa ... said .... he ... saw ... an ... angel.” and then started to snort again. “Is that so..” Gladys said thoughtfully, “And why is that so funny?”
“Silly.” Stella said, “Nobody sees angels they only saw them in the Bible and Grampa isn’t in the Bible.” “Looking fo a good story Gladys prodded Stella along, “How do you know that?” She asked. “ I thought it was pretty obvious.” Stella said no longer laughing, “Besides, Grampa was a bit hysterical when they got him out.”
“Got him out.” Gladys thought to herself, “That sound good. Maybe he was drunk and fell in a hole...” “Got him out of where?” She asked out loud. “Out of church!” Stella said, “Didn't you hear about the tornado?” “Oh, that.” Gladys said a bit disappointed. “Well,”Stella went on, “He was one of those trapped in the building and that is where he said it happened.”
“Where he saw the angel?” Gladys asked. “Yeah.” Stella said and then let out a snort, “He said it told him they would all be safe and that things would be worse on their mission trip but they were not to worry only trust in God and He would see them through.”
“Sound like some good advice.” Came a man's voice. “It was Randy Smith and apparently he had heard the whole conversation. “You don’t believe he saw an angel, do you?” Stella asked. “I wasn’t there but I don’t see why not.” “Are you cracking up?” Stella asked. “From the way you sounded.” Gladys butted in, “You were the one cracking up.” “Besides,” Randy went on, “An angel appeared like that to Paul, and the Bible says that some people see angels and don’t even know it. In fact, they’re probably all around us.”
When Stella heard that she started to cry. “I missed seeing an angel?” she said and then ran off. “Are you sure he wasn't a little, well, you know...” Gladys said to Randy but Randy gave her a stern look back and then she ran off.
Have you ever felt like a stranger in a new place? Sometimes we are strangers, sometimes we see the strangers and sometimes we want to avoid them. In the Bible we see times when strangers showed up but, were they really strangers?
In Genesis 18 we read of the appearance of three men to Abraham .... He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, "O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. … They said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "She is in the tent." The LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. … Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. The LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
Genesis 18:1-22 (ESV)
In Genesis 32 it is Jacob's turn .... And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for the day has broken." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." And he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." Then he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed." Then Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered."
Genesis 32:22-30 (ESV)
Hebrews 13:2 says Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (ESV) Have you ever wondered if the strange that just walked by or that you just walked by may have been an angel. If if the strangers around us are not angels we do have a duty towards them.
- Leviticus 19:34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (ESV)
- Leviticus 19:10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God. (ESV)
- Exodus 22:21 "You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (NASB)
- Deuteronomy 24:17 You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless, nor take a widow's garment as a pledge. (NKJV)
- Deuteronomy 26:11 So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you. (NKJV)
Here's Something To Ponder
- What would you do if an angel did appear before you as a stranger?
- When you have been a stranger how have you wanted to be treated?