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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Entertaining Angels: The Freeway Angel

by Marilynn Chadwick

The Bible says angels are God’s “ministering spirits” sent to serve the followers of Jesus (Hebrews 1:14). They deliver his messages and give help when needed. But Scripture also reveals how they provide protection. Scripture reminds us how the angel of the Lord “encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Psalm 34:7 NIV). 

One clue about whether we’ve encountered an angel might be if we are unexplainably delivered from danger. Many years ago, a mysterious helper showed up during a scary situation—just when I needed him. And while I cannot say for sure the man was an angel, neither can I say for sure that he was not. 

David and I had been serving our church for a couple years. This was well before we had children. I was driving my regular freeway commute to UNCC, where I was working on my master’s degree in counseling. Our cars were old—so old we gave them names to add a little character. David drove “Big Blue,” a high-mileage, oversized Oldsmobile. I drove a clunky, yellow Ford sedan, which I had nicknamed “The Banana.” Speeding down the freeway in “The Banana” that morning, my mind was occupied with my big research paper that was due.

All of a sudden, my car made a weird noise and smoke began to spew from under the hood. I quickly pulled over to the side of the freeway. I was afraid to get out—nervous as speeding cars whizzed by. This was before the days of cell phones. I tried to calm down. I would need to walk to the nearest exit and find a payphone. I tried not to think of stories I had heard of women being attacked by “helpful “strangers when their cars broke down.

Suddenly a car pulled off the road right behind me on the freeway shoulder. A man got out and came around to my window. He immediately took control of the situation. I do not remember being one bit scared—even though I was a young woman in a vulnerable position.    

He said, “Miss, your water pump just burst. You can’t drive far with that thing steaming like it is.” He never opened the hood, so how did he know it was my water pump? He went on, “Good thing I have a friend who has an auto repair shop just off the next exit. Follow me.”

Waiting for a break in the traffic, he pulled his car around in front of me and I slowly followed him to the next exit. Sure enough, there was a small car repair shop at the end of the ramp. The man quickly hopped out of his car and went to find the owner. The mechanic on duty got me fixed right up. I had a brand new water pump—and everything was taken care of in plenty of time for me to turn in my paper at school. But where was the kind stranger? He was nowhere to be found, so I couldn’t even thank him.  

It was only later, when I reflected on the series of coincidences, that I began to wonder about the man. How did he “happen” to be following along behind my car—and how did he manage to pull off the freeway so close behind me? How did he know my water pump was the problem when he never opened the hood of my car? How did he know the exit was nearby and how did he know a mechanic was available in the car shop? And why did he leave before I could thank him? Could he have possibly been an angel? I’ll never know. Whether he was simply a servant-hearted human who happened to be in the right place at the right time or a heavenly “angel on assignment,” the story reminds me that God loves me. He is in control of my life. And he is always a step ahead!

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