the guardian angel of credit cards

little angelAfter some unexpected (and probably computer-error-generated) activity on my credit card I decided that it was safest to have the old card replaced. That all happened smoothly, but it also included getting a new PIN. Now I don’t know about you but I have so many 4 digit numbers bouncing around in my head that I didn’t want another one, but it was a necessary part of making sure that my account was secure.

The problem is that I can’t remember the new PIN. To misquote Eric Morecambe, I can remember all the right numbers, but not necessarily in the right order. I can check this, and I have done, but somehow the order remains elusive.

I wanted to use my credit card today and confidently put it into the machine at the till, and hesitantly put in the PIN I remembered. It was wrong. I decided that, rather than risk having the card disabled and having to get a new one again, I would use a debit card that I was confident about. All was well.

Then, as I was driving home, I had a call from an unknown number on my hands free phone. It was a very nice lady from my credit card company checking to see whether I had been trying (unsuccessfully) to use my card. I found it very reassuring that their system was monitoring me and my activity and had decided that the unusual activity was worth checking out in person. It’s nice to know that my credit card has a guardian angel.

I think lots of people like the idea of having a guardian angel – some holy being that is watching out for us: making sure we don’t trip up and fall flat on our face (literally or metaphorically). I have heard people talk about how their guardian angel must have been with them when they had a narrow escape from a dangerous situation.

Now I am not really convinced about guardian angels. This is why: if I have a guardian angel, then he/she/it is not doing a very good job. I do trip up and fall flat on my face (literally and metaphorically). I do get ill. Things do go wrong. Sometimes I don’t escape from a dangerous situation (narrowly or otherwise).

And I struggle to find evidence for one in the Bible. Indeed Jesus insisted on several occasions that if we follow him we can expect all sorts of hardship, which suggests that if they exist guardian angels become redundant when you become a Christian.

We all know that life can be tough. We all know that relationships can be difficult. We all know that sometimes we get ill. Life is not a continuous procession of joy, happiness and victory. (Before you get too depressed let me say that it’s not all misery and doom too!) Jesus never promised that it would be different. When he spoke about bringing people ‘life in all its fullness’ I don’t think he was saying that it would be a life of fluffy bunnies and cushions wherever we land. I think he was saying that it will be a life like everyone else’s with a balance of joys and sorrows (for better and for worse) but with the added dimension of experiencing God’s presence and perspective on things.

There’s a slightly fatalistic Hebrew proverb (not in the Bible) – “This too shall pass.” ‘Life in all its fullness’ has an element of ‘there’s a better future’ but it has much more to do with experiencing and living life as God intended it to be lived – with him, in him, through him. That’s what the Holy Spirit does for us and in us and with us and through us.

I suspect that instead of a guardian angel around us, what people are experiencing is a touch, a free sample, an inkling, an awareness that God is for us and that his Spirit is at work in us even before we are aware of him.

Be blessed, be a blessing

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