The Time when an Atheist met an Angel

I belong to a blogging ministry called Re:Devotionals.com, a women’s daily devotional blog community. Subscribe today for daily devotionals delivered right to your inbox. Below is my post for today.

atheist and angel

Scripture Reading: Psalm 91:11; Hebrews 13:2

It was a hot and humid June day in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My freshman year of college had ended a few weeks before and summer classes had not started yet. Many people had moved back home for the summer and the once-booming campus was quiet.

I walked around aimlessly, trying to make sense of the last nine months. In the span of two semesters, the boyfriend I followed to LSU betrayed me. I confessed that I didn’t believe in God. My best friend committed suicide. A wolf in sheep’s clothing slipped me a date-rape drug. The boy I was in love with refused to commit. And my obsession with this boy drove away two different roommates and our mutual friends.

I was completely alone. I remember sitting on the parade grounds, confused, lonely and isolated on the empty campus, surrounded by strangers on this hot and humid June day.

Walking back to my apartment, I saw a yellow sign in front a campus ministry building that said, “Free Meals on Sundays at 6 p.m.” Well, you don’t have to tell me twice when the sign says “Free”. I was excited for a warm meal and the prospect of meeting new friends. So what if they were Christians… That evening, I showed up at 6 p.m. to an empty parking lot and a locked door.

There was no doorbell, just a key-code entry pad on the heavy metal door. Seriously? I thought. How are you supposed to even get in if you don’t know the password? This is ridiculous. UGH! Why did I even try?! God, I knew you weren’t real. This makes me so mad!

I stood outside the building huffing and puffing the same way my three year old does when I tell him it’s time for bed. I was angry. Just then, a man opened the door.

“Ma’am what’s wrong? Can I help you?” he said in a quiet, gentle voice. I don’t remember the features of his dark face but I can still see his khaki jumpsuit and a name tag that I never read. He had a wooden push broom in his hand and a demeanor that made me feel safe.

“Well, I was here for the free meal at 6 but it seems that your sign is wrong,” I said rudely.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Today is the first Sunday in June so we change over to having the free meals on Mondays at 7 during the summers. Come back tomorrow. It will be fun,” he suggested.

“No thanks, but you should really change your sign.” I rolled my eyes and harrumphed back to my car.

“Don’t go,” he called. “Our campus minister just ran upstairs to her office. Come inside and meet her.”

I looked back at him and something within me told me to trust him so I went inside. The quiet building was dark and empty. He hadn’t turned on the lights since it was just him downstairs by himself cleaning. He told me to go upstairs and that I would see her office door open. I walked up the stairwell and saw a light on in an office down the hall. That night, I met Ann. We talked for three hours straight about what I’d experienced and eight months later, after continual bible study, she baptized me in the freezing cold water of the Gulf of Mexico.

One day I brought up the old janitor who cleans the building while we’re all gone. Ann said she didn’t know who I was talking about. Stunned, I looked at her and reminded her of that warm June evening.

How do you not know him? He was cleaning the building and unlocked the door for me. Ann said that it was just her in the building that night. How would I have known to go upstairs?! He was there, in a khaki jumpsuit. He had a broom in his hand!

It had never crossed our minds to talk about how I got into the locked building that night. But we both agreed that the angel who opened the door night was sent by God. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I would have read his name tag. One day, I hope to recognize his sweet face in heaven and give him the hug I should have given him thirteen years ago on that hot and humid June day on LSU’s campus.

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