It was cold and wintry, and Margaret Larrivee's husband had gone to Quebec to visit his family. He would be home soon but now Margaret looked out the window at the freshly fallen snow, and was concerned. After his long drive, she would have liked to greet him with a clean driveway. But due to health problems, she was unable to shovel or lift heavy items. Now she wondered if he would be able to get the car into the driveway, or would the heavy snow block his entry?
In a matter of minutes of having these thoughts, a knock sounded at the door. Margaret opened it to a young man with a rather needy look about him. Being alone in the house, Margaret was initially a little cautious, but almost immediately she felt an unexpected peace. "Could I shovel your driveway?" the young man asked. "Well." Margaret's husband liked to do such tasks himself. The young man shuffled, apparently a bit embarrassed. "My check didn't come, and I have no money to buy food," he told her. Again, Margaret sensed peace, as well as sympathy. "You go ahead," she told him. "Just knock when you're finished."
The man's face lit up like a light bulb, a real childlike joy, Margaret says. "And while he was working, a joy came over me like I've never felt before." She started putting together bags of food and whatever else she thought he needed. "Even some spiritual tracts went into the bags, as we must feed body and soul," Margaret says, and she laid $20 on top as payment for his labor.
"It wasn't long before the expected knock came and I opened the door to a very pleased young man," Margaret says. "His work was the neatest I'd ever seen, pure perfection, and when I gave him the money he thought it was too much. But when he saw the food, tears came to his eyes and he hugged me."
Margaret hugged him back, her hesitation long vanished. "Be sure to read the tracts," she told him, "and remember that God loves you."
She closed the door, overflowing with joy. What a wonderful and special encounter. She thought again of the young man. Would he be able to carry all those bags? Perhaps she should call him a taxi? She opened the door again---not a minute had yet passed---and looked out onto her front yard and driveway.
No one was there. Although the young man had just said goodbye, and was laden with bags, nothing remained of their encounter but a perfectly-shoveled driveway.
Margaret was joyful for days afterwards, which is why she believes that the young man was an angel. "I felt like a million dollars, for when you act in obedience to God, He gives pure joy," she says.
Perhaps the young man came as a test, to see if Margaret was truly willing to live the Gospel message? We'll never know for sure. But St. Paul tells us that some of the needy ones in our society are indeed angels in disguise. Think of that the next time you meet one of them.