This is a little story I wrote after the death of little friend of ours. We were the baby sitters
mentioned – we looked after him the day he died…
Once upon a time a little angel lived in heaven. He spent his time happily doing the duties that little angels did in heaven. But once in a while he looked longingly at the bigger, important angels that God sent to earth to look after His children there.
“I wonder what it would be like to have an important job like that,” he pondered, as he went about his duties. “I suppose I’ll always be too little for that.” He sighed. Then one day it happened. One of the chief angels stopped him and said, “Jesus wants to talk to you in the throne room.” The little angel’s heart thumped a little as he hurried to answer the summons. What could Jesus want with him, one of the most unimportant of the angel band?
He soon found out.
The throne room was a dazzling place. It was so glorious that only a supernatural being could safely enter. Even though he had been there before, the little angel always was awed at the glory of God and the mighty angels who ran His important errands from there.
But today he had little time to gaze. Jesus met him at the entrance. “I have an important mission for you,” He said earnestly. “I need you to go to earth to look after a small boy who is going to be born today.”
The little angel gasped in surprise and anticipation. A thrill ran down his back. He was going to be sent to earth! But it scared him a little too. “But Master,” he said, his voice quivering a little. “I’ve never done anything like this. How do I do it?”
Jesus smiled, and the room lit up. “Love him,” he replied. “Keep him safe. Small boys are always ready to try daring things. You will need to be there with him and guide him around the dangers.”
Then He added, “Don’t pamper him. He will learn many lessons from the troubles he faces. But keep him safe. You will see many ways to do this. But most of all learn to love him.” So the little angel quickly flew to earth. He went straight to the hospital, and he was there when the small boy was born. He shared in the thrills of the new parents as they held their first child. He watched carefully as the nurse washed him, because he had heard stories in heaven of nurses dropping new babies. And already as he watched the helpless small boy and listened to him cry for his mother, the little angel felt a warmth creeping through his heart – the beginning of love. He slipped closer to the small boy and carefully held his hand. The baby quieted immediately and the nurse smiled at him as she finished wrapping him in a warm cozy blanket. “Sweet little thing,” she whispered.
The small boy was sweet. His parents were enthralled with him. So were his grandparents, and all the uncles and aunts. And so was the little angel, who watched over him very carefully, even when he slept. For you see had heard stories in heaven of little babies who died crib deaths, and he loved this small boy already. And he wanted so badly to do a good job of his first real assignment.
The small boy grew quickly. And the little angel watch over him even more carefully. He had heard of babies rolling off the table and being seriously hurt. So he stood close by when his mother laid him down then turned to get a clean diaper. He held the small boy’s hand and once he even pushed him back from the edge of the table when he rolled over.
The mother sometimes almost sensed that the little angel was there. She wondered a bit if someone was helping her to look after the small boy. Later when the small boy was old enough to trail after his father around the farm, she was even more sure.
There were times that the small boy was afraid. Then the little angel came especially close. There was one time that the mother and father needed to go to town and they couldn’t take the small boy with them. It was the first time that they had to leave him with someone he didn’t know, and the small boy was very afraid. He cried and cried as his baby sitter rocked him and sang little songs to him. The little angel crowded very close to him and held his hand. Oh, how the little angel wished that he could speak to the small boy, or show himself to him to comfort him. But he knew that this was not allowed. So he sang along with the baby sitter, and it seemed that the small boy sensed he was there, and became quiet.
Then one day the little angel was needed. The small boy was playing with his cat, and wandered away from the house. The little angel followed carefully, and worried just a little. He would have liked to stop the small boy and lead him back to his mother, but he remembered what Jesus had said about not pampering him. The small boy needed to learn the lessons of life that could only be taught by pain and hardship. But oh how he wished he could spare him. Surely Jesus wouldn’t care just this once! But he remembered the love in Jesus’ eyes and he let the small boy go.
Oh, but it happened so quickly! Was that irrigation ditch bank too steep? The little angel almost panicked as he watched the small boy climb over the edge. Should he stop him? But he noticed that it looked shallow, and he carefully held the small boys hand as he tumbled into the water. Was the water too deep anyway? He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that it wasn’t. He carefully held the small boy’s hand as he screamed for help, and watched anxiously across the yard to see if the small boy’s mother heard him. Good, there she came, running to help him.
That time the mother was almost sure that the little angel was there.
Then one morning when it seemed that the small boy was especially happy, because he was going to visit at a friend’s house, an angel came to talk to the little angel. “Jesus wants to talk to you. I’ll look after the small boy while you’re gone.”
The little angel look anxious. The other angel was big and strong. But would he look after the small boy carefully? The mother was going to take him to the babysitter again that day, and the little angel always watched even more carefully at times like that.
The big angel smiled as if he had read the little angel’s mind. “I’ll look after him very carefully,” he said gently. For you see, the big angel had an idea what Jesus wanted, and he pitied the little angel from the bottom of his heart.
So the little angel went home to heaven for the first time in 2-1/2 years. He went quickly, because in spite of the big angel’s assurance, he wanted to get back to the small boy. It was the first time they had been separated since the small boy was born. What could Jesus want? Had he failed in something?
Jesus met him at the gates. He smiled, and said, “You have been doing a good job, little angel.” But then his smile faded and He looked very serious. “Now I have something very hard for you to do for me. I want you to bring the small boy home. We need him here.” The little angel’s heart plummeted. “But Jesus,” he protested. “His parents love him so much, and they don’t have any other children.” Then he cringed a little, afraid he had said too much.
But Jesus face reflected His compassion. “I love him too, and I love his parents as well. I need the small boy here, and I will give his parents special strength to bear their sorrow.” He paused, and placed His hand on the little angels shoulder. “Trust me,” He whispered. “I love them far more than you do, and I know what is best for them. You will see.”
The little angel’s face fell, but he bowed his head in submission. Then he thought of something else. “But… but how will I do it?” He almost stammered in his anxiety. “I don’t want to hurt him…” His voice trailed off. He had heard stories of horrible accidents, and terrible diseases.
Jesus understood. “Bring him as gently as you can,” He said. “But I want him here tonight.” It was a long flight back to earth.
All afternoon, the little angel watched over the small boy. And his heart pained him as only a heart full of love can pain. How could he ever do this? But he remembered the love in Jesus’ voice, and he knew that Jesus knew what was best.
Evening came closer and the little angel became more anxious. How could he ever do what Jesus had asked of him? He knew that he would never be able to lift his hand against the small boy.
At supper time he hovered anxiously over the happy little family. Later the young mother would wonder why she had felt an anxious twitch in her heart as she served her husband and the small boy. Little she knew. The little angel grieved already as he watched the concerned look on her face. You see he had spent so much time with these three, that he felt he was part of the family.
He hid his face in his hands as supper came to an end. The father patted the small boy on his head and was rewarded by a happy smile. The mother smiled at both of them. The little angel almost wept. How could he do this?
The parents started to talk about the evening’s plans, and unobtrusively the little angel took the small boy’s hand. Never had he been more gentle than now as he led him from the table and out the door. Now. It would have to be now.
Outside the dogs saw the small boy and they came running. The small boy’s face lit up and he follow them across the yard. Then the little angel saw that they were going in the direction of the farm pond, and his heart fell. Could he could go through with it? But he remembered Jesus words, “I love them even more than you do.” He would have to trust.
Carefully the little angel parted the fence around the pond so that the small boy could get through without hurting himself. Then he turned his back…
It didn’t take long. And it didn’t hurt the small boy at all….
* * * * *
For the first time the small boy saw the little angel. Little as he was, the small boy had sensed the angel’s presence at times too, and his face lit up as he saw the little angel. He held out his arms, and the little angel took him up. The small boy wrapped his arms trustingly around the little angel’s neck, and the little angel carried him up and away from the pond waters.
Then they both heard a scream. The small boy’s mother came running to the pond and saw the dogs swimming in a circle over the place where the small boy’s body still was. The small boy stirred in the little angel’s arms. “Mommy?” he asked uncertainly.
The little angel shed a tear. “Mommy will come later,” he assure the small boy. “But she has to live on earth with your Daddy a while yet.” The small boy started to sob, and the little angel thought quickly. “Why don’t you whisper goodbye to her?” he said gently. “She might hear you.”
And the mother did look up, a strange look on her face.
Then the father came. The small boy wanted to say goodbye to him too, because he loved him as dearly as he loved his mother. But they had to wait because the father was too busy. He had found the small boy’s body in the pond and was trying so hard, so desperately, to bring him back. The angel pitied him so much that he was tempted for a little to bring the small boy back to his body again. But again he remembered the look of love on Jesus’ face, and knew that he couldn’t do it.
But people were starting to come, and other angels were moving in to take over. It was time to go. So the little angel slipped over close to where the father and mother stood weeping beside the little body. The small boy leaned over close to his father’s ear. “Daddy, I love you. Please come to be with me soon. Goodbye…”
The father didn’t quite hear, but he would remember later that something strange happened. He would never be quite sure, but he thought that just maybe the small boy had been with him for a moment.
The little angel knew it was time to go. He didn’t want the small boy disturbed by the sorrow he knew would follow as family and friends came.
There was a crowd at the heavenly gate this time. It seemed that all the little children in heaven had gathered to welcome the small boy. The small boy had been very quiet during their journey, but his face brightened as he saw the little children spilling through the gates, singing, with Jesus in their midst. The small boy held out his arms, and Jesus took him from the little angel and gave him a hug. The little angel saw the small boy smile and he knew that he had done right in being obedient, even if it hurt him as nothing had ever hurt before.
Jesus smiled at the little angel. “You have done well,” He said. “You have proved your love for the small boy. He will be happy here as he never could have been on earth.”
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying,
neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.