Elijah went on a long journey. When he was tired from traveling, he laid down under a boom tree in the hot sun and he fell asleep. He was exhausted. He could not journey anymore. He was giving up. As he laid down to fall asleep, he prayed this final prayer out to God. He said, "This is enough, Lord. Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers."
I would gather to say that Elijah was at rock bottom. He was completely done. He was laying under this tree and he was ready to go. Then two angels came upon him, touched him, and ordered him to get up and eat. They had provided for him a hearth cake and a jug of water.
Elijah got up and he ate. Then he went back to sleep again. The angels came back and shook him and woke him up, and they said to him, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you." So Elijah got up and ate and he walked on from there for 40 days and 40 nights.
Sometimes the journey seems long for us, doesn't it? Life with all its difficulties and all of its hardships? Sometimes we just want to give up and throw in the towel, like we can't take it anymore. We feel like Elijah, saying, "Take my life, Lord. This is enough." Then we find that God intercedes. Just when we think we have hit rock bottom, just when we think we can't go on anymore, just when we think life has become too difficult, God intercedes -and He often does through angels.
Angels ultimately are God's messengers and God can come upon us in many different ways. God can send angels to us, the actual angels from heaven, or He can also send messengers to us here on Earth that can become earthly angels.
Recently I received an email from a father about his little girl who has been suffering from seizures. I would like to share their story with you. The father, Matt, struggled with spinal meningitis when he was a boy. He had the illness early on in his childhood. His parents would often pray Psalm 91 for him. And Psalm 91 is, "For He has commanded His angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go."
Matt had to be treated at Akron Children's Hospital. He lived in Norwalk, Ohio. Think about the drive from Norwalk to Akron Children's Hospital (about 1 1/2 hours one way, for my nonlocal readers). Now imagine doing that every day with your child, that's close to 3 hours roundtrip -just in the car. The rides were long, so Matt's family began to pray Psalm 91 together on the way home. And you know what? A few nights after they began this, Matt was essentially healed. They really believe that God performed a miracle; that through the angels Matt became totally healthy. The doctor said that he was probably going to grow up to have many complications, but he never did. From that moment on, Matt was completely healed.
Now years later, Matt writes that his daughter, Katie, has started having seizures recently. The last one that she had was just over a week ago. So he went to his parents for advice, and his parents said to him, "Well, we've always prayed Psalm 91 for you. Why don't you pray that for Katie."
So Matt and his wife began praying Psalm 91 for Katie: "For He has commanded His angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go." They began praying that prayer over and over and over again.
The family began to ask everybody to pray for Katie. They started prayer chains on Facebook and other social networks, and through e-mail. Everyone began praying for Katie.
Then as Matt's mother was praying with one of her friends, his mother's friend said that she clearly heard God say to her, "Can I not protect Katie wherever she goes? Can I not do that?" Matt's mother got the sense that this was a confirmation of Psalm 91: "I will protect you with My angels."
That very day Katie's mother was driving her home, when all of a sudden Katie began to have a seizure in the car. Katie's mother called the father and said, "Katie is having a seizure." She didn't know what to do Meanwhile, the father is just listening on the phone this whole time. He could not see anything, but he was listening on the phone. Katie's mom pulled the van over, and got Katie out of her seat. While Katie was having a seizure right there on the side of the road, a car pulled over and asked if they were they okay and needed any help.
Katie's mother told the passersby that her daughter was having a seizure and was in need of some help. And as it turns out the driver of the other car is a firefighter and his wife, who was also in the car, is a specialist in the school system, where she treats kids with seizures. So she knew exactly what to do with Katie; she massaged her sternum and helped her to be still and to silence the seizure.
Matt wrote in his email that he realized God's intercession came through in these good Samaritans. Who other than a paramedic and a specialist in treating people with seizures would pull over to help them? The same people also happened to know Matt's neighbors. So as Katie went on to the Emergency Room, they were able to drive their van back home for them.
There are two insights to draw from this, and I think they are good insights for all of us. First of all, as Matt explained, when God spoke to his mother's friend, "He said that He could protect Katie wherever she is, and He showed up." So that is the first insight. God can protect your children wherever they go. I know a lot of you have children going off to college or getting ready to go away to school. So I want you to think about Psalm 91; God sends His angels with your children, and He can protect them wherever they go.
Secondly, he says in Psalm 91, "He commands His angels with regard to them, to guard you wherever you go." It seems hard to think how God could not have commanded His angels to this place where they needed Him at that very moment. We don't know the final outcome, but through these events, and everyone's prayers, Matt feels that God is with Katie, and while they would not have chosen for God to reveal Himself in this way, God did reveal Himself in this way.
I want you think about how God reveals Himself to us in our struggles. While Katie's parents do not want her to have this condition, it is because of this condition, that God has revealed Himself.
Maybe there is a condition that you have or that your children have, and you wish that you did not have it. Sometimes people ask me why... "Why, Father, does God let me have this, or let my child have this, or let whomever have this." Well, we know the answer to the why, actually. It is for His greater glory. God is going to reveal Himself in that condition.
However, we are not always sure of the how or when. We do not know how God is going to do it. I think, for all of us, we can be reminded by Psalm 91, "For He has commanded His angels with regard to you, to go with you wherever you go." Just when we think the journey has become too long, just like Elijah, and we are ready to give up and lay down, -and just like Katie on the side of the road lying there in her seizure, that is when God comes to us. That is when He sends His angels and that is when He performs miracles and helps us to believe. Whatever it is that you are going through in life; if you are just about ready to give up, know that God will minister to you, either through His angels or through other people.
Katie likes to sit by the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue in front of the Rectory here at Saint Joseph, and has been doing this every week since Easter. She goes in front of the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue and she sits there and prays with Jesus. Last weekend while doing this, Katie said to her mom and dad, "Picture. I want a picture." They realized that she wanted a picture with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. So maybe when you are leaving Mass and you pass by the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or the picture here on my blog, you can say a pray for Katie.