Thursday, March 7, 2019

Angels: A F.R.O.G for Vanessa, a T.O.A.D. for Pat

Greetings, and abundant blessings to my dear internet friends, my neighbors, my beloved and beleaguered family, and to whoever in my Home Group reads this.

This is a post about angels.

In 1978, my wild and capricious lifestyle best thinking lead me to enroll in seminary, and to take a class in New Testament Greek. I had prepped the summer before by learning the Greek alphabet, and I suppose that did help a bit.

The very first Greek work that caught my attention was "ἄγγελος," and I think the best I can do to represent that in our lettering system is "aggelos." The Greek letters are alpha, gamma, gamma, epsilon, lambda, omicron, sigma.

"Hmm," I thought. "That's almost the same as 'angel,'  but there is no ' (the Greek letter 'nu') to represent the 'n' sound."

And shortly afterward, I learned my first REAL Greek lesson: when there are two gammas written together,"γγ", the sound is changed to 'ng'.
And shortly after THAT, I learned my SECOND Greek lesson, and one of the more important lessons I learned in that entire year: the word "ἄγγελος" in all its' forms, singular, plural, etc,  "ἄγγελόν", "ἀγγέλων",  "ἀγγέλους", means "messenger." 

That's right: an angel is a messenger. 

And I will extrapolate only SLIGHTLY, and say that a message from God is carried by: an angel.

I have written about frog visits before, which came at a time of crisis. If you click on that link, you will see the first visitation, along with the circumstances. The second visitation came just about a year ago; another cute little green frog appeared in the living room.

Now, I THOUGHT that our current crisis was a septic tank that is non-functional due to the high water table from the rains we have had over the last two weeks. Later events changed my perspective on that, but it is true that all this past week, I have to be stationed downstairs with the Ridgid Blower Vac. I yell "GO," and they wash or flush or shower, and they get to use 16 gallons of water until I yell "STOP STOP STOP!"  (BTW: if you click on the Ridgid link, it will open a window on Amazon, where you can buy the kind of blower vac I am using. But even if you DON'T buy anything, click on the link anyway. It makes me happy when people click on the links in my blog.)

But, on Monday, as I was vacuuming out the drainage pipes, I found this little fellow swimming in the sewage I had just vacuumed up:

I washed him off and stuck him in a terrarium made out of a cardboard box.

Now, TWICE in recent years, we have had tiny green frogs appear in our immediate environment; that's a bit unusual, as we don't live near ANY water; no pond, stream, nothing. And the first frog appeared in our CAR in the Kroger parking lot, and the second frog appeared in our living room. Tiny, green, cute.

But on BOTH occasions, we were facing a tough decision about family, and whether or not we were going to offer housing.  And, it was bugging us both, but I think it was bugging my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, more.

It was on that first occasion that I realized the significance:  FROG is the acronym for Fully Rely On God. And it took a bit, but my wife DID understand that there is more to receiving a message from God than just hanging out at night in a field, keeping watch over sheep. Sometimes the message comes more subtly than that, perhaps so subtly, that it takes a while to accept the TRUTH:  there is a message for you.

And if there is a message, there is a messenger, and therefore, as I explained to Vanessa, the frog is an angel. And we both were able to accept the message to Fully Rely OGod. And it was a great comfort to us in the days following.

By the way: with the appearance of the second frog, right before we had to take grandchildren into our home for over two months, at first Vanessa was having a hard time with the NATURE of the messenger. IT WAS A FROG! IN HER LIVING ROOM! And at first, that's all she could comprehend. But I helped her get past that point, so that she could   Fully Rely OGod; I reminded her that God had other messengers. And if she couldn't hear the message of   Fully Rely OGod, perhaps the NEXT message was Don't Rely Again, Girl, On Nothing: DRAGON! (I was JOKING, I was JOKING!)

Fast forward to two weeks ago, when the rains hit hard. The basement flooded, and we discovered it at 6:15 on Monday morning, as I was walking Vanessa to her car to go to work. It made her very, very upset; but I eased her past it, and told her repeatedly that I was going to take care of it, that there were things she could do, and things that I could do, and this was one of the things that she could NOT do, and one of the things that I COULD. And she was able to move on, after I let her know that afternoon that I had vacuumed the basement dry.

Fortunately, we didn't know at the time that the rains would keep coming until the ground was so saturated that our septic system couldn't handle it. And it's been about two weeks now that every usage of water has to be matched with usage of the wet-vac.

And then, I found the messenger. But it wasn't a FROG; it's a TOAD. And Vanessa really doesn't have a problem with  Fully Relying OGod. And then I got It. Or, part of It. And then another It. And yesterday, I got the rest of It.
The message wasn't for Vanessa; it was for me. Before the Messenger from God appeared, I was VERY angry with whoever had flushed Wet-Wipes down the toilet, because you can't do that to a septic tank. But once the Messenger showed up, I was at peace.

And the message was: we got a message! God cared enough about what our condition was that He sent us a message! We got the package, but we didn't know what was in it; but it was tremendously comforting to know that He was watching, and He sent us a message.
Yesterday, as I was vacuuming up water so the kids could take showers before school, I was thinking about the significance of getting a TOAD. What does TOAD mean?

It was deeply personal; I won't go farther than to say I have a history of struggling with feeling incompetent. And then I saw God's message in the TOAD: Take On, And Do.

It's a tremendously affirming message to me, that God has found me worthy to Take On, And Do.He trusts me to take care of His family. He is confident in my ability to handle this, to do what I can, and when I see that I can't accomplish something, to reach out for help.  Take On, And Do;He is saying to me, once again: "You are not worthless." 

That's huge.

Ya know what's NOT huge? The septic tank situation. Oh, they are still there; the trip I made to Home Depot to get some parts I thought I needed was MUCH, MUCH less than a success. As soon as I get THIS posted, I'm going to spend several hours shuttling between hooking up the blower-vac and the dishwasher. and the toilets, and maybe the washing machine, and I'd LIKE to have the time to drill into my yard and find out if the Infiltrator system I have really IS full of water, or if the problem lies elsewhere. I'm betting on 'elsewhere' at the moment. I have a call in to my oldest buddy from back in the 60's who is a retired Genius Plumber, and I'm hoping he can speak a word of clarification.

But it's NOT huge, it's not even a problem. If you have the resources to deal with circumstances, they are merely arrangements, or opportunities. I have had the opportunity to serve my family. And I have had the opportunity to serve Angel, the tiny TOAD who has been hanging out with me in my man cave for the past three nights, when the temperatures dropped below freezing. It's DEFINITELY worth doing:
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Heb 13:2, NASB)

But the outside temp is now 47 degrees, and so I shall close this post, and release Angel into the wild, and then Take On, And Do.

Peace be on your household. 


  1. Every one of us needs a T.O.A.D. from time to time!

  2. My message is usually GOYB: Get Off Your Butt. I recon it should be looked at as GOYBber, or goober. Stop being a dweeb, stop expecting others to intervene (except God - that's His call).
    And along with GOYB is GOWI. Get On With It. Stop dawdling. Move it.