A Question I Was Asked:

Do We All Have "Guardian Angels"?

Is it true that all of us have a guardian angel that protects us, as the Roman Catholic church teaches? If so, why do bad things sometimes happen to God's people?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, let us start by being logical here; if we do indeed have guardian angels, their work would apply to all general protection of all of us - nevertheless - they could not override the will of God Who sometimes wills to bring His people into trials and persecutions for their own learning and development as Christians. Also, it is obviously appointed for all of us to die at some point, so it would depend on which "bad things" (which you mention) one is talking about.

There is no doubt that angels help protect us (Daniel 6:20-23; 2 Kings 6:13-17), reveal information to us (Acts 7:52-53; Luke 1:11-20), guide us (Matthew 1:20-21; Acts 8:26), and often provide for us (Genesis 21:17-20; 1 Kings 19:5-7). They minister to believers in general (Hebrews 1:14). So - for the Christian - none of those things can be questioned. Scripture establishes those things.

Matthew 18:10 also states,

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."

"These little ones" - in this context - would appear to apply to those who believe in Him (v. 6) and it could also have an application to little children (vs. 3-5). For sure, during times of extreme danger, many children have reported seeing angels and many of us believers too have occasionally sensed their presence. We also need to bear in mind Peter's miraculous deliverance from prison by an angel in Acts 12:

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists. Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen." (Acts 12:6-11).

This, of course, was an outstanding miracle but it does not end there:

Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, "Peter is at the door!" "You’re out of your mind," they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, "It must be his angel." But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. (Verses 13-17, NIV throughout).

Notice carefully that those assembled certainly appeared to believe that Peter the Apostle had an angel assigned to him ("it must be his angel"). Without question, all the 'major players' in God's plan had - and still have - the same (Paul's deliverance after being bitten by a snake, for example in Acts 28:3-6), but there is no reason to believe that this only applies to the 'major players,' and the phrase 'little children,' apart from plainly having an application to actual small children, would appear to have an application to newer believers. Neither should we forget Psalm 91 - carefully go through it!

However, again, none of these things should be seen as giving a blanket protection to all believers at all times. For our own correction and spiritual development, God does occasionally allow us all to sometimes get into hazardous places and situations, and some even lose their lives in such a manner, just as James did back in the first century. God will have an individual plan for every single one of His people which could even include martyrdom and will certainly involve some suffering at times. Nevertheless, He will guide us, and - in many times and occasions - keep His protecting angels close to us. So, in understanding this point, we must be careful to avoid the 'charmed life-type' teaching of some charismatics.

It probably cannot be emphatically answered from Scripture whether or not each believer has a guardian angel assigned to him/her. But, for sure, God does use angels in ministering to us. It is scriptural to say that He uses them as He uses us; that is, He in no way needs us or them to accomplish His purposes, but chooses to use us and them nevertheless (Hebrews 1:7). In the end, whether or not we have an angel assigned to protect us, we have an even greater assurance from God: if we are His children through faith in Christ, He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28-30), and Jesus Christ will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). If we have an omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving God with us, does it really matter whether or not there is a specific finite guardian angel protecting us?

My own opinion, for what it is worth, is, yes, both small children and true believers do have guardian angels but we must understand that they do not give us some sort of 'charmed life' status - the Christian life is a hard road and God will occasionally allow us to fall into difficulties, trials, temptations (as and when we are led astray by our own weaknesses), and persecutions. Yet - under all normal everyday circumstances - I believe we all have much protection which we are usually unaware of. In short, having a personal, or guardian angel cannot effect, nor negate, the jurisdiction and sovereignty of God in our lives. It will remain the case that His divine will for every one of us will be carried out. So, for example, it would be ludicrous to say, "I have a very good guardian angel who will not allow God to bring me into trials and persecution."

One or Two Further Questions Arising From This...

A few questions arise from the above. I believe that small children are given special angelic protection and thousands of parents could cite examples of this (as we can from when our own children were small), but the question could be asked: what about when terrible things sometimes happen to small children? It is, of course, incredibly hard at times but we simply have to accept the jurisdiction of God in all of these areas. we know, of course, that no terrible accident will be God's fault yet He Himself is prepared to take responsibility for these things. Christian believers believe that all small children meeting an untimely death before the age of accountability are certainly saved, probably entering straight into heaven. It is undoubtedly much harder as it appears from our earthly perspective - especially for grieving parents - than it is in true spiritual reality. But I don't want to minimize how truly dreadful such trials are. One day we will understand all of these things but, for the present, we have to trust God Who has perfect judgement.

Robin A. Brace. July 15th, 2015.