Dear Lee: I'm 27 years old. I grew up Lutheran. We read about angels in the Bible, but we never talked about guardian angels. They weren't emphasized.
I want to share a story that happened when I was 10. I didn't see a guardian angel, but I believe that I heard one.
My friend and I had been to a slumber party the night before. You know the game, ``Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board?'' We decided we were going to do that again, just the two of us. My friend was lying on the bed, and I was doing the chant, ``This is so-and-so, and she's died in a plane wreck.''
We never got to the actual levitation part, because just before I was ready to do that, this voice came from behind us, above the window, toward the ceiling. It was a man's voice, and it said, ``STOP! Don't DO that!'' That was all that was said, but it startled us, of course!
We turned around -- and nobody was there. We didn't know what to make of it! I remember looking under the bed and in the closet, thinking, ``Was it my dad?'' But I knew it wasn't my dad: It wasn't his voice! We looked all over my room and out in the hallway.
I remember a chill running up my spine when we went back to my room, because we saw my dad out in the front lawn, mowing the yard. And there was nobody else in the house.
I can still hear that voice so clearly. It was a soothing voice of concern. I never forgot; it's stayed with me, all these years.
And we never did play that game again! --Lisa, Lawrence, Kan.
Dear Lisa: After receiving such a startling rebuke, you were wise to avoid that game. God's message warned you away from what could bring you harm.
What's the difference between mere games and dangerous activities? Analyze: Do players feel the need to hide from other people that they're playing the game? Do participants take upon themselves GOD'S role, attempting to alter circumstances or people directly through supernatural means (such as levitation)? Finally, do such activities cause disturbing feelings or behaviors: constantly desiring secrecy, displaying unreasonable defiance or rage, or feeling inexplicably anxious, even suicidal? If so, quit toying with such ``games,'' and immediately seek counsel from people who love God and will help guard you from evil.
Thanks for sharing this story, which illustrates that God moves to protect us.
Dear Lee: Three years after quitting drinking, I started having weird feelings and hearing voices. I get real scared. I feel I'm being told something, but I don't have a clue! Now, when I talk to Jesus and the almighty Father, at times I cry and get these chills. I worry a lot about dying and going to hell. I've tried to change my ways, but it has me worried. --Anonymous, Champaign, Ill.
Dear Anonymous: Thank you for writing about these concerns.
God has mercy on those who truly seek healing. We need NEVER fear that God wants to chill our spirits or create troubling sensations to frighten us into ``changing our ways.'' Instead, God loves us and warms our hearts -- freeing us from hurtful behaviors and distress, and strengthening us with health and courage.
Remember it's no insult to our faith if we need counsel from both clergy and physicians, and if our circumstances require medication or therapy: God often answers prayers by using such measures to bring healing.
Have the courage to seek help -- and know that we'll keep you in our prayers.
-- Lee Thomson is an ordained Lutheran and syndicated columnist. Comfort and encourage the faith of others by sharing how god has shown love to you. Write ``Dear Lee'' at PO Box 6256, Rock Island, IL 61204-6256; or call 1-309-786-5957; or e-mail DearLeeCol