THE RED COAT


THE RED COAT


Scripture: Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it. Hebrews 13:2


It happened in October of 2009, but the memory has not faded. I've turned it around in my head 100 times, but the bottom line is I just don't know. Let me start at the beginning.


My husband, Jerry, had a hip replacement at Kettering Hospital. Care was top notch! But . . he was mad as a hornet when he came out from under the anesthetic. Thankfully the Lord sent a male nurse that first night. It was still a big challenge but that's what anesthetic can do to some people.


The next day he was feeling well enough to suggest I take a walk to get some fresh air. Staff kept saying there was a walking path in back of the hospital. It looked like a beautiful day from the upper hospital window. I would be warm enough in a light jacket over my blouse and jeans. I was ready to find that path.


Once outside, all I could see was a sea of cars in front of the woods. A young girl dressed as a nurse was out of her car and now walking toward me. I was going to ask her for help when I saw the RED coat against the background of the evergreens.


I walked toward her instead of the nurse. A closer view told me she was a beautiful black woman with short softly curled hair and bright RED lipstick. It matched her full length country tweed RED winter coat. The coat was buttoned all the way up to her neck. I vaguely remember her sturdy black dress shoes. But the thin black and dressy gloves . . they were the kind my Mother used to wear to church during the 1950's.


She started talking about the wonderful walk she had on the path. "Where?" I asked . . "right back there" . . she pointed. Before I could ask more questions she grabbed me, hugged me and asked my name. I only said "Joyce" because she kept talking. Face to face, she was only a little taller than I was. She smelled good . . flowers? She smiled the whole time. There was a kindness I liked but I also felt unnerved. It seemed she already knew me. What? I didn't think to ask her name or any other questions.


She blessed me with those gloved hands and sweet words before she turned and walked toward the hospital. I watched her small frame weaving in and out of the parked cars, then gone from my sight. What had just happened?


I walked toward the coolness of the trees and finally saw a tiny sign marking a path well into the woods. I pondered the woman while I walked. Why was she wearing a winter coat on a barely cool fall day? Were angel wings under that coat? Had I seen God in the form of a woman? My theology kicked in as I knew angel names in the Bible were male. But I also knew God created male and female in His image. Even satan can turn himself into an angel of light but he would not be blessing me . . on the contrary!


Everything about her shouted "Joyful!" Maybe that was her name. I don't know . . I just don't know.


What do I know for sure?

I know Jerry was pleased with his hip surgery and enjoyed working in the garden the following summers.

I know Jesus loves us and we love Him.

Will I ever see the RED coat again? Only the Lord knows for sure.


What about you? Have you ever seen an angel?





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