For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11

In 1978, my sister-in-law, Elaine Jarvis, was turning at an intersection when another motorist ran a red traffic light and plowed into her car. In the months that followed Elaine developed migraines, coupled with pain down her left shoulder and arm, due to whiplash. Ten years later she was still suffering from headaches and pain and sent to a neurosurgeon for tests. He discovered a pinched nerve and several herniated discs in her neck but wasn’t prepared to operate.

In May 1995, while Elaine was out walking with a friend, she stumbled and fell. The fall was minor but Elaine was in such agony she thought she was dying. A torrid time ensued. Painkillers gave little to no relief. She lost all strength in her left hand and arm and her two middle fingers were permanently numb. By October, the pain was so bad she didn’t want to eat.

To top it all Elaine had an allergic reaction to the iodine-based dye that was used in a myelogram procedure and was hospitalized for a week. Once stabilized the surgeons operated on her neck.

You can imagine Elaine’s situation. Six months of continuous pain and then, in addition to that, the sickness due to the iodine allergy. Elaine was tired and depressed.

That’s when God intervened. In Elaine’s words, “In hospital, while I was very low and obviously in pain, I felt as if angels surrounded me. It was as if I was really being hugged. I could see them all around my bed. There was one particular angel who held me right in my bed. To this day I can feel their loving touch. It was not my nurses nor my fellow patients. I could see those heavenly people and I knew that I was being taken care of that day and every day. I felt strong and also felt hope that I would get better. I was made aware that the Lord knows our weaknesses and cares for us. Nothing is too simple or small for Him.”

The visit from the angels was a turning point. Elaine’s health quickly improved and she was soon discharged.

But the story doesn’t end here.

The day after Elaine arrived home from the hospital the family had gathered to celebrate when we received a telephone call from England and heard that Dad had died of a heart attack. We were numbed. The Lord had taken him suddenly, and in the way he had always wanted to go – in the pulpit preaching the Word.

That same day, although trivial in comparison to Dad’s death, Elaine’s favourite dog also died.

As you can well imagine, we were overwhelmed by the magnitude of events. Everything happened in quick succession, one incident piling on top of another. Life can be like that, you have to take it as it comes.

However, in retrospect we can see how fully and adequately God looks after His own. He doesn’t promise to keep us from pain but He does promise to be with us through pain. The angels who ministered to Elaine in the hospital were sent to encourage her recovery and also to provide her with the needed strength to get through the week ahead. True to His Word, God commanded His angels concerning Elaine to guard her in all her ways (cf. Psalm 91:11). Elaine is thankful for God’s grace and mercy. She’s also grateful for having discovered that God “does not crush the weak or quench the smallest hope” Matthew 12:20 (Living Bible)

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