Summary: I believe that God does indeed assign His angels to protect police officers and soldiers and all those who willingly put their lives on the line for others. I believe that God also assigns angels to watch over ordinary Christians and ordinary churches
The Angel on Your Shoulder
It was late October and I was working midnight shift at the police station in our small town. It had been a quiet night until we got a call about a bar fight with serious injuries. It seems two friends had been drinking heavily when one decided to crush a beer bottle against the others face.
The man holding the beer bottle was a huge specimen. He had once played professional baseball but his love of alcohol sent him to the minor leagues. His younger friend was a ruff and rowdy kind of individual always ready to fight or get into mischief.
The big man had crushed the beer bottle along the side of his friends face ripping a deep long cut from the ear to the bottom of the jaw. It was as if he peeled half the face off.
The police arrived on scene and did their investigation but the attacker could not be located. On Saturday nights as this was, the police only kept one extra man on until 2AM when the bars closed. That left us with two police officers to patrol the town until 7AM when the day shift would arrive.
I was about 28 years old at the time and had been in uniform for just over 5 years. I had many opportunities to learn what a bar fight looked liked and I had learned the difference between being brave and being foolish in such situations. I was a Christian at this time and I was learning to exercise my faith in my everyday life. I was learning to trust God and His word and to trust that still quiet voice inside me we call the Holy Spirit. I had two small children at home and a young wife to provide for. I made every effort to do my job while managing to stay alive and return home after each shift. It was not always easy.
We had a practice of walking through the downtown areas and checking the businesses on foot. We did this twice during the night when and if time and circumstance allowed. Due to the busy night we had with the bar crowd I did not get to the foot patrol until nearly 5AM. By this time we were winding down our shift and usually got caught up on our paper work or did a foot patrol. I decided to do a foot patrol.
It was a clear cool night and I looked up at the beauty of the stars as I made my way around the downtown area. I got to a bridge when I noticed a huge dark figure approaching me. The figure grew larger and larger as we got closer and closer to each other. I quickly realized I was face to face with the man who had attacked his friend in the bar earlier that night. He was an imposing figure about 6 foot 4 and all of 300 pounds. I was 5 foot 8 and about 180 pounds. Of course I had a flashlight in my hand as I walked and a gun on my hip but I had hoped I would never have to use it.
I faced this Goliath and saw he was touting an aluminum baseball bat on his shoulder. He was in fact on the hunt for his one time friend who now wore a huge new scar on the left side of his face. It was clear he intended to finish what he had started and I found it kind of sad and poetic that he chose to use a baseball bat.
The baseball bat that had once brought him his greatest personal achievement had the potential to bring about his greatest personal shame and humiliation. If he got past me and made his way to kill his friend his life would be remembered as a murderer rather than a once mighty king of the pitchers mound.
I knew a little about his life, it was a hard luck story from start to finish but he had a great natural ability that provided him his ticket out. When he did arrive at the pro level he found himself in the fast lane. He enjoyed the fame and money but forgot his humble beginnings. Somewhere along the way he lost sight of who he had hoped to be and settled for something far less. His story reminds me of Samson and Delilah and how he tossed away a great gift for the vanities of life.
My Dad once told me stories of this man and how he had the makings of greatness within him but let it all slip away. He was now a broken man. Just like the broken bottle he had used to cut his friends face with his broken life cut and scarred him with a sense of failure while greatness was once within his grasp. It seems he never reconciled his failure with himself. He became a hard bitter heavy drinker who could not live with his shame.