Two Tires on the Stairs

The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them. Psalm 37:4 ESV

You need to know that I have never seen an angel, but I believe in them. Yet the entire concept of angels seems pretty strange to me. Why would an all powerful God who can command light into existence and who holds every atom in the universe together by the power of His word, want to use angels to do stuff? And yet, the Bible tells us that, God chooses to employ angels to take care of us.

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on

When our kids were still in diapers and credit cards were only issued to folks who didn’t need them we struggled financially. Though we had enough to pay for our groceries, rent and the electric bill, by the end of the month, there was nothing left over. Each morning as I got the car, glanced at the front tires, which were daily growing balder, I breathed another prayer and put the key in the ignition. Every afternoon when I pulled back up into our parking spot, I racked my brain trying to figure how we could squeeze a few dollars together, then put it out of my mind, picked up my lunch box and trudged back up the stairs to our apartment.

Though we didn’t have much mullah, we did have plenty of friends. One of those was a confirmed bachelor named Bob and my wife insisted that we invite him over for dinner at least once a week. She worried that otherwise he would never eat a decent meal. Bob became like an uncle to our boys and they loved nothing better than running full speed and jumping onto his lap unexpectedly, then laughing hysterically as he let out a loud groan. Regularly, Bob would remind me about those tires, and regularly I would tell him that we would get to it next month. But whether it was an unexpected doctor’s visit or a new pair of shoes for our growing boys, it seemed “next month” never came.

All the time I worried about those bald tires I never once thought about praying for new ones. Not that I doubted God, but it simply never occurred to me to trouble the almighty with mundane issues like tread wear. He probably had important stuff to do like taking care of orphans in Africa or rescuing beggars in India. But one day I discovered that God isn’t too busy to notice even the tiniest problem we face while He is taking care of folks with bigger issues. He sends angels to camp out around us, to help in every struggle we face.

It was a Sunday morning and just as always we scrubbed up the boys and squeezed them into their church clothes then headed off for the 11 AM service. I put my worry about the tires into the back of my mind convinced I could only pray about life threatening issues. Yes I know I should have prayed but I am glad that our Father in Heaven doesn’t always do things according to formula. I have no idea what our pastor preached that morning, but engraved forever in my mind was the miracle of two brand new tires sitting at the top of our stairs on our return. Yes our angel that day actually was named Bob, but I’m pretty sure that he was enlisted into the service of the ones with wings. What was best of all was the astonishingly wonderful discovery that God knew and cared and sent angels to take care of every detail like stubbing our toe or getting a flat. God wanted me to know that whether He was washing my dirty feet, leaving tires on our stairs or dying on the cross for my sins, that He loves us all completely, in every detail and forever!

Two Tires On the Stairs by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2021 Use by permission only, all rights reserved.

Desert Temptations

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1

The great temptation that we face is to seek help and hope and honor from men instead of being satisfied with what God Alone provides.

A desert is an empty and dry place where little survives and what grows there is gnarled or covered with thorns. But the Spirit led Jesus there and He will certainly give to us seasons to be there also. It is not a place we would have chosen but it is necessary, because there we learn to depend on daily bread baked in our quiet time with Him, rather than the seemingly spectacular loaves that the world’s advertisers insist we must buy.

There on the rocky paths He sends His angels to guard us along a plain pathway. That protection covers us as we brave necessary dangers of obedience not the thrill of showing off our freedoms and rights for everyone to see.

He doesn’t require us to gain worldly fame instead He simply gives us fruitfulness as we obey His command to love those around us.

If we want to find God’s joy and peace and love then we need to look for them where Jesus did. Only there, out in the wilderness can God faithfully show us His way. In that place Jesus was satisfied that the Father was completely pleased when He trusted in His word. If Jesus had to live in humble surrender rather than by insisting on His rights then how much more should we?

Our Special Muslim Friends

Last year we moved from a house along a busy city street to a planned community. We miss the hustle and bustle and choice of Latino, Asian and Italian food, but we are happy to live in a neighborhood where the people next door aren’t moving in and out every six months. We were also pleasantly surprised to learn that at least two of the other families on the street were Evangelical Christians like us.  What we didn’t expect was to learn that the nice people who lived right across the street from us were Muslim. Now that almost eighteen months has passed since we began to unpack our boxes I have come to some startling conclusions.

The first surprising thing is that even though our Christian neighbors like us and we get along fine, it is the Muslims who are the easiest to talk to.  Secondly they not only greet us with friendly smiles and small talk but also loaned us their pressure washer so we could clean our driveway. Then Christmas rolled around and guess who came to give us a beautiful tin of cookies at Christmas? You got it! What a blessing that our Muslim neighbors are now our Muslim friends!  All of this has made me stop to reevaluate how Jesus looks at our Muslim neighbors all over the world .

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Luke 2:10-12 KJV

If the angels were sent to Bethlehem today they would be probably waking up Muslim shepherds. Stranger still is that this idea is more than okay with God. Notice how in the story from Luke there was no special guidance given to the angels. They were not directed to find only folks who attended synagogue regularly. Instead they were sent to people who would be willing to have a conversation and do something about the news. Then consider the message itself. God sent a message of “Great joy…for all people.” Who better to send a missive on joy to than some shivering shepherds who had to stay up all night watching stupid sheep!  Last of all God decided on people who He was certain were going to tell others. Christmas was not some sort of top secret “For your eyes only” communication. If God wanted to keep Christmas quiet He could have gone to the high priest or some of the higher ranking members of the Sanhedrin. They would not have agreed with the good news for everyone part of things so they probably wouldn’t have told a soul. But instead God chose shepherds and a carpenter and strange wise men from Persia to show His love to that night. Since the first Christmas the angels have passed on to us their job of good news telling. Maybe we should ask ourselves who God might be wanting us to tell tonight!