Angels of Deliverance
By Patricia Backora
Taken from Book II of her novel:
Tough Love in Christ’s Millennium
Saul’s Aunt Mildred was in one of her moods, but her husband Peter found solace in meditating on a wonderful sermon Brother White had delivered for Midweek Service: “Paradise: Provision of Christ”. Over a cup of tea Peter recalled some of the highlights of the message.
The fullness of Kingdom Blessings was now a present reality. Until Christ’s Second coming, believers had patiently waited for a future Paradise, though they also had enjoyed God’s care and provision even during the darkness of the Old World.
Throughout the Church Age, believers had had to make their stand against a belligerent devil who pulled out all the stops to wage a dirty war of nerves against born again believers to defraud them of their inheritance in Christ Jesus. Satan would assault their health, their finances, their marriages, and try to make them worry day and night that God wasn’t able to meet their basic needs.
Peter reflected on how much easier it was for a saint of God to obtain physical healing in his world. Some saints of the Church Age had had to wait till heaven for complete deliverance from physical debilities. Their faithfulness in the absence of immediate reward for their faith was an enduring testimony to these dear children of God, now garbed in glorious immortality.
In the absence of disease pathogens, mankind’s infrequent illnesses were now confined to other basic causes like overeating or the soul being out of harmony with God, which would adversely affect the physical body. But with repentance for the soul and simple herbal remedies for the body healing came quickly. Peter had heard of broken bones mending instantly in response to prayer, even knew one boy whose front teeth were miraculously restored after being knocked out by a baseball.
Sickness of the soul mystified Peter the most. How, oh how could anybody find fault with this perfect world? Why was his wife continually carping? Today Mildred was even complaining about having to make his favorite lasagna. How could any truly spiritual person be so obsessed with eating, she’d needle him whenever he wanted something especially nice for dinner. Even if Peter did always compliment her cooking. Why so much bother about what went into a body which would not last for eternity?
She’d only gotten worse since Saul’s downfall. Even if Saul sprouted angel wings she would still gripe about something. If only Mildred would seek healing for her soul. How deep and complex the roots of her discontent must be, he knew, and it would take a man far wiser than himself to figure it out.
The doorbell rang. “You get it!” Mildred called sharply, racing upstairs. “I’m in no mood for visitors coming to feel sorry for Saul! I hope they don’t stay long, and keep those curtains drawn! I don’t want neighbors staring through our windows!”
Peter obliged, muttering that no saint worth his salt would want to watch the show at their house.
He opened the door and was surprised to see two figures in silvery white apparel. “Ah...how may I help you gentlemen? Do come in. You’ve honored my house by your visit. Judging from your appearance you must be in the service of the Great King.”
“We are, Peter,” said Manuel, the larger of them. “My name is Manuel, and this is Lemuel. Your gracious hospitality does credit to your own status as a son of the Living God.”
“And your gracious words rejoice my heart,” said Peter, showing them inside. “Welcome to my home, Manuel and Lemuel. Please be seated. Care for some cranberry nut cake and lemonade? It’s fresh.”
“That would be nice, thank you,” said Manuel. “It delights the Heart of God, Peter, how you have let the Word in Good Season spoken by your pastor take root in your heart and flourish there.”
Peter smiled shyly. “Well, gentlemen, with God’s help, I do my best to live His Word, not just let it go in one ear and out the other.”
The angels laughed, though the reason for their visit was hardly humorous. “A physical improbability, Peter,” said Lemuel.
“But, unfortunately, a real spiritual problem for many mortals,” put in Manuel.
Peter excused himself to go to the kitchen. Soon he was back with refreshments. Manuel tasted the lemonade and Peter asked how he liked it.
“It’s cold and bracing,” said the angel, “like lemons should be.”
“But a bit sour?” Peter laughed. “Mildred makes tart lemonade, but here, have some sugar .”
The angels demurred, saying unsweetened lemons were refreshing and much tastier than formerly, and the cake would be sweet enough.
The cranberry nut cake was pronounced exquisite. Manuel asked who made it.
“Our nephew Jared’s wife Jessica,” he said. “Her cakes are such a treat. You can tell by tasting her cooking that she does things lovingly and joyfully, as unto the Lord.”
Lemuel nodded. “That’s what makes her cake taste so good.”
The angels handed their plates back to Peter after being offered another slice.
Once they finished eating the angels asked Peter where Mildred was.
“Er...excuse me, gentlemen. I’ll see if I can go find her.”
“Mildred!” Peter called sweetly up the stairs. “We have very special visitors!”
“Leave me alone, you fool! I’ve got a headache!”
“But God sent them, Mildred!”
“Sure, sure. Busybodies from the Tabernacle, no doubt, here to pray for Saul!”
“So what’s wrong with being a blessing, Mildred?” Peter shot back.
“Peter,” said Manuel gently, “you’re getting upset with her. Don’t let bitterness set in. Just sit down and we’ll take care of her. That’s why we’re here.”
Peter thanked him for the warning, then smiled, not out of gloating but gratitude. Had he lived back in the Old World the devil might have driven him to divorce Mildred for pricking at his patience for so many decades. But he’d married her and he’d had to live with her. Divorce was divinely prohibited, except in the rarest of cases where reconciliation was impossible. Even then people were always warned to forsake hatred, the root of all murder. If they didn’t there would be severe consequences.
Peter was amazed to see Manuel coming back downstairs, leading Mildred by the hand, weeping and wailing as she went. “You can’t do this!” she protested. “Saul’s the sinner in this family, not me. I serve on every committee at Glory Light Tabernacle. Peter! Help me!”
“I tried to do that thousands of times, dear, but you wouldn’t let me.”
She looked furious, but Manuel shot a warning look at her.
“Mildred,” the angel said, “you almost cursed at Peter for asking God to deal with you.”
“Yes, that’s so. Peter usually prays alone, so how do I know he hasn’t been up to no good?”
“Now Mildred,” said Manuel, “if you go peaceably with us without gnashing your teeth about it you shall receive only a brief custodial sentence in a pleasant place of spiritual rehabilitation. But if you vent your anger a worse fate could befall you.”
“Don’t look so self-pitying,” Lemuel said. “You refused to submit to God’s lesser authorities. Now you are in the custody of one of the King’s higher authorities, Lord Stephen.”
“But I tried to contact Lord Stephen earlier!” Mildred wailed. “All I got on the phone was music!”
“You only wanted our lord to punish Saul!” the angel reprimanded her.
“Mildred,” remonstrated Peter, “I thought you were trying to find out more about Seth.”
“Well, you can kill two birds with one stone!” she snapped.
“But God wouldn’t let you,” said Peter, “and you never did go to the Judgment Hall to ask Lord Stephen about your brother.”
“Peter,” said Manuel, “kiss Mildred goodbye. It is time for her to go there now.”
“I don’t want any kiss from him!” she sniveled. “Why are you taking me in?”
“Because God has seen the affliction of your husband. We could not intervene until he stopped playing the long-suffering martyr and claimed his right to Paradise peace.”
“So what’s wrong with being a martyr?” queried Mildred. “Our most honored rulers are martyrs, aren’t they?”
“Those blessed saints were slain for defending their testimony of Christ in a Christ-rejecting world,” said Lemuel. “They are true martyrs who have received the Crown of Life for being faithful even unto death. Peter does not inhabit the evil world they knew and he is not appointed to suffer its oppression. Yet he actually thought it his duty to commend himself to God by enduring tribulation in this Paradise Earth. He thought he would be less of a man if he complained about your mental cruelty, even to God.”
“Even if I seemed a little harsh,” said Mildred, “it was for Peter’s own eternal good. God refined him in the furnace because I gave him a rich opportunity to grow in patience and longsuffering.”
Peter could hardly believe Mildred’s bizarre appeal to piety to whitewash her sin. He held his peace.
“Doesn’t it say in I Corinthians 13 that love bears all things?” pleaded Mildred, when the angels looked angry.
“But never needlessly and never endlessly,” replied Manuel, “and never without a divine design for good; not even during the Church Age. And certainly not in this blessed dispensation of time, when God is finally restoring peace to this planet and giving His people rest from adversity. This present world is now just as much God’s dwelling-place as the highest heavens.”
“Don’t you think I’m fully aware of that?” said Mildred peevishly.
“But you aren’t aware of what you’ve done to Peter, who is a saint living in the Kingdom Age where God’s praises abound. What godly person, even back in the days of God’s long forbearance with sinners, would have felt guilty about reproving a sinner who burst into the sanctuary to ruin the praise service with profanity? But despite God’s disapproval of your nagging, Peter patiently bore with your evil words and verbal assaults, partly because Peter sometimes confused religiosity with true spirituality. He is called to be a son of God, not a dirty mat for you to wipe your feet on!”
“If what I did was so wrong,” Mildred sniffled, “ then why did you wait till now to come for me?”
“Because Peter finally saw the light about what the Fullness of the Kingdom of God means. This glorious freedom finally came to him because he claimed it by faith and the Truth set him free. Now he need no longer suffer because of your besetting sin.”
“Sin! Why I never...”
“That’s enough, Mildred,” said Manuel. “Will you go with us peaceably, without a tantrum?
Limply she nodded, with a dull stare of resignation. She neither looked at Peter nor said anything to him as she left with the deputies of Lord Stephen.
Brother White’s message was bearing fruit. Had Peter been less of a saint, he might have jumped for joy and hollered ‘Hallelujah!’ to see her going away to get the help she needed. Instead he bowed his head in sweet relief and thanksgiving to God. With her departure came a holy peace and restfulness to the house. Peter opened the window to enjoy the fresh air and chirping robins. He went out to the front yard and scattered bread crumbs for them, knowing Mildred wasn’t there to scold him for littering and looking childish. He leaned against a tree and sighed, “Thank you, Jesus.”
Truly Christ had made provision for Peter’s paradise. It was his by right, his own inheritance as a child of God dwelling in Christ’s Kingdom. Peter would not let anybody deprive him of it. He would enjoy God’s Paradise forevermore and live in the light of it.