Excerpted from "A Rustle of Angels" by Marilynn and William Webber, published by Zondervan Press, 1994.

From early childhood, Marilynn Carlson Webber had an interest in angels. She confides that she had always wanted to see an angel--if not in person, at least in a dream. That never happened until the summer of 1993. Marilynn relates her unexpected experience:

Four angels came to me in a dream, but they were not the glorious, shining angels I had always pictured in my mind's eye. I was startled to see that they were dressed in black. Their body language spoke volumes. They were in mourning. Summoning up my courage, I asked, "Why are you in mourning?"

One angel replied, "Because you are dying. If something is not done soon, you will die."

Suddenly I was wide awake. I was frightened by the vividness of my dream. I was trembling because of the encounter. For the first time, I also felt pain--severe pain.

I woke my husband. "I need to tell you my dream," I insisted to my sleepy spouse. "It's so real. I know that God sent his angels with a message."

I described the black-robed angels in mourning and their message that I was dying unless something was done...soon.

"First thing in the morning," Bill told me, "we will find a doctor."

I had not seen a doctor for a few years. I had my excuses. My internist had retired. I had gone to two other doctors, but although they were comparatively young, both had stopped practicing medicine. The last physician warned me that I needed to be monitored for cancer and had recommended a specialist, but when I called for an appointment I was told that he was taking no new patients. I had meant to find another doctor but for two years had put it off.

The morning after my dream my husband urgently called the doctor that had been recommended. The receptionist told him the doctor was still taking no new patients. Bill asked to talk to the doctor himself but was transferred to his nurse. He told the nurse that his wife needed to see the doctor immediately. When she asked why it was so urgent, he told her of the dream.

"It's impossible for you to see Dr. King," the nurse replied, "but let me see if I can work you in to see one of his colleagues."

In a minute she came back on the line. "I have an appointment for your wife with Dr. Keeney," she said. "He is one of the best oncologists in the area."

With fear and trembling I kept my appointment with Dr. Keeney. As he took my medical history, he asked what had brought me to see him. I poured out my dream about four angels dressed in black and watched as he wrote it in my file.

A biopsy was taken, then almost every known medical test--or at least it seemed to be that way to me. They found cancer and a tumor that needed to be removed. Dr. Keeney explained that pain was not a symptom of this type of cancer. Why, then, had I felt pain on the night of my dream? I believe that God knew that I was a reluctant patient, and to get my attention he needed not only to send his angels in a dream but also to underscore their message with pain.

As a part of the routine preoperative procedure I was seen by a resident. He began taking a complete medical history. I asked why it was necessary, inasmuch as I had answered the same questions for Dr. Keeney. He replied that Dr. Keeney was the best in his field, he could remember everything about all his patients, but that no one could read his handwriting. "All I can make out in your medical history is that four angels in mourning came to you in a dream and told you that you were dying if nothing was done."

Surgery was set for September 2 at the Loma Linda University Medical Center. The doctor told me I was considered to be a high-risk patient. I believe in prayer and began to ask my friends to pray for me. I asked to be put on every prayer chain I knew.

The day of surgery came. The doctor told my husband that he could expect me to be in intensive care for two days. Surgery took four hours, but after a few hours' stay in the recovery room, I was placed in a regular hospital room. Five days later I returned home. Prayers are answered!

The doctor explained they had caught the cancer in time and were able to remove it completely. I did not need chemotherapy or any follow-up treatments, but if the cancer had not been discovered it would have spread and been life-threatening.

I knew I would have put it off, as I had done for years, but God, in his mercy, sent four angels in mourning, dressed in black, to impress me with the urgency of seeing the doctor. I continue to praise God for his goodness and my health!

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