This article originally appeared on Beliefnet in September of 2004.

We have all read of the destruction left by Hurricane Charley, especially around the Punta Gorda area. One reader reports that gas lines are still very long, there is a shortage of clean-up material and ice, and people are getting depressed. If anyone knows of a way that we can help, please let us know.

However, in the midst of difficulties, the angels still work. While watching and praying for those people. I remembered stories I had read about people literally asking angels to provide a guard or a fence around them or their property. On one occasion, a Florida orange grower actually claimed to have saved a crop of oranges from frost by asking angels to stand guard: his was the only crop in the area that did not freeze. In another instance, a woman silently posted angel guards around her house, one at each corner. Later, a small child told her he had seen four angels around her house as he passed it.

I knew the angels would be active as Hurricane Charley drew nearer. But would people think to ask for help in that way?

A few days later, Beth Dewey of Orlando, sent a writeup to another e-zine. As she explained, her father is dying of cancer and could not possible go to a shelter, so Beth, her mother and Dad decided to ride out the storm together at Beth’s home. It was risky, because Beth lives in a mobile home, and so do her parents, "As the storm approached, I prayed that God would steer it in another direction," Beth says, "but God did not honor that request. Instead, He set Charley on a path straight to us."

As the winds blew, Beth sat and prayed, and wondered if God knew what He was doing. She tried to remember that "if He brings me to it, He will surely bring me through it." Hopefully, although she saw no signs, angels were posted around their family’s homes.

Eventually the storm passed, and Beth was amazed to discover that her trailer seemed relatively untouched. And they also had electricity, although many of their neighbors did not. "This was a TRUE blessing because my Dad would not have survived the heat," Beth says.

But perhaps the best angelic answer occurred when the three of them opened Beth’s door and stepped outside to check the other trailer. For some time it had needed a new roof, but Beth’s parents could not afford to provide it. Now, all three looked with awe at the second trailer. It had no damage along the sides or, as they later discovered, inside. But a tree had fallen completely through the roof, making it un-fixable. The insurance company would give them a new one, at no expense.

We cannot infer that prayer works magic. There are plenty of hurricane victims who prayed, yet lost so much. And there are others who never thought of asking for angelic aid, but came out relatively unscathed. This is part of the mystery of life that we will understand only when we reach heaven.

But as many people know—and more learn every day—it never hurts to ask. "When you think God doesn’t hear you," says Beth, "let me assure you that He does, just not in the ways you might expect."

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