If you’re lucky enough to have seen the Northern or Southern Lights, what do you think you’re seeing?
This spectacular light display, called the aurora borealis or australis, is usually confined to the high latitudes at the Earth’s poles.
Many people view these shifting ribbons of light as a sort of otherworldly dance in the sky. Others see the swirling colours as a mystical painting come to life. Some indigenous peoples believed the eerie, glowing streamers were ancestral spirits.
But when you look at the auroras, what you’re really seeing is a battle.
The entrancing, ghostly lights result from charged particles from the Sun interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field. These particles, borne on the solar wind, are constantly bombarding our planet. At times they’re more intense, as during periods of high sunspot activity.
The Earth’s magnetic field protects us from this barrage of particles, like a “deflector shield” in a science fiction movie. Without this protection, the solar wind would eventually kill us.
Our magnetic field is always there, an invisible but highly effective shield. It deflects 98% of the particles spewed out by the Sun in our direction, but is slightly weaker near the poles. During the ethereal display known as the Northern and Southern Lights, our magnetic blanket becomes visible as it works to protect us.
What we see as an intriguing and beautiful phenomenon is actually visible evidence of a fierce battle going on for our lives.
Likewise, in life, sometimes we don’t fully understand the battles that are raging behind the scenes.
Unknowingly, as we go about our daily lives, believers are being protected by heavenly forces from harm. We usually can’t see these protective beings, but they’re there nonetheless, working on our behalf.
Scripture gives us a peek behind the curtain, as it were, at this kind of battle. In Daniel 10:12-13 we learn that Daniel’s prayer was immediately heard by God, and an angel was dispatched to him. However, this angel encountered resistance from opposing spiritual forces. He was delayed by this battle for three weeks, until the archangel Michael came to his aid. All the while, Daniel had no idea why the answer to his prayer was late in coming.
There is warfare going on all around us, unseen by us most of the time. Sometimes all we know of these battles are the puzzling “coincidences” that may have saved our lives.
You may have heard of the “church choir miracle” which occurred on March 1, 1950 in Beatrice, Nebraska.
The 15 members of the West Side Baptist church in Beatrice met for choir practice each Wednesday at 7:20pm. Normally, all the members were there early, around 7:15.
But at 7:25, a natural gas leak at the church caused a massive explosion. The building was blown to smithereens. The roof collapsed, the walls exploded outwards, windows of buildings in the area were shattered, power outages struck parts of the town, and a nearby radio station was forced off the air.
But not one member of the 15-person church choir was hurt. In fact, the building was empty. That’s because every single person was coincidentally late for practice, each for a completely different and random reason:
The pastor and his wife were late because their daughter’s dress was soiled and the wife was ironing a different one.
Another person and her sister were late because their car broke down. Her alternative ride was also late picking her up.
One choir member was late because he was working on an important letter. Others were late because they wanted to finish homework or hear the end of a radio program.
The church pianist planned to be 30 minutes early, but fell asleep after dinner and overslept, putting his whole family late.
One lady, who lived right across from the church, delayed leaving her house until the last minute due to the cold weather.
The odds of unanimous tardiness among all 15 members of the choir are slim indeed: perhaps a million to one against this happening? This story is so inexplicable to some that it was featured on the TV program “Unexplained Mysteries.”
But I think we can proffer an explanation for it: angels were working unseen on behalf of the choir members to preserve their lives.
There are battles going on daily on behalf of all believers. Only after we reach Heaven will we realize the many times and ways we were spared or protected here on Earth through the intervention of God’s angels.
I’m reminded of some lines from an old Amy Grant song called “Angels Watching Over Me”:
“God only knows the times my life was threatened just today.
A reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way.
Near misses all around me, accidents unknown,
Though I never see with human eyes the hands that lead me home.”
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.