“For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
His ancient eyes impassively observed the birth of the tiny girl as he tried to discern what made her different from the thousands of other children born on that day. Her family seemed ordinary enough, and the guardians with her parents were of the middle ranks. He knew that there was a divine reason for his selection as the girl’s protector, and he did not question the decision that put him in that place on that day. But he was curious. He had been the guardian of hundreds of apostles, rulers, patriarchs, and pivotal humans in history for thousands of years. He had been with Noah as he built the ark; with Abraham as he had made his trek through the desert toward Ur; with Jacob as he had fathered the twelve tribes of Israel; with Moses as his mother had set his basket afloat in the Nile; with David as he had slain the giant Goliath; with Daniel as he had faced the lions; with G. F. Handel as he had composed beautiful music, including The Messiah, to the glory of The One; and with Dwight L. Moody, and other evangelists who had brought the Light to the world. He had guarded kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers, and military heroes. He was the principal guardian from the highest order; servant to Elohim, the Most High Master, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Almighty Creator of the universe. What made this tiny baby special enough for his assignment as her guardian?
He thought back to the summons he had received in the previous year upon the completion of his assignment. There had been nothing unusual about the manner of Asim, the scheduler, when he had communicated the identity and location of Xander’s next charge. However, Xander had been surprised that he was being sent to guard the offspring of such an unremarkable family in an unimportant place. Normally, guardians of his rank and record were given to those who would change history, those who would hold positions of power, and those who would be extremely important in the work of his Master. But Xander asked no questions. He accepted the assignment immediately and without betraying any hint of his thoughts. He had confidence that there was a reason for this dispatch, and that he would be told what he needed to know when it was necessary. In the meantime, he would do his job from the moment of her conception. No one, nothing would harm this child until the appointed hour of her death.
Elohim, in His omniscience, had heard Xander’s confusion concerning his charge and had summoned him to the throne room as he was leaving Asim. Xander had removed his sandals and bowed on his knees before the pure, holy light that was his Master, the King of the Ages.
“Xander, chief of all my guardians, do you wish to ask anything of me?” God asked his servant in a gentle voice.
“No, my Lord. Whatever you command is good in my sight. I am pleased to obey,” Xander had answered quietly without lifting his head.
“I know your heart, Xander, and I know that what you say is true; however, I will answer what you will not ask. Had my own Son needed a guardian, I would have chosen you. As He could command the legions Himself, I instead charged you with guarding His mother. Just as you kept her safe from the evil plans against her life and His while she carried Him, I need for you to guard this human girl who will be born. I have an important design for her life, Xander. She will be the means of turning the earth world back to Me, and she will also provide the way to defeat Lucifer’s champion for this age. Her influence will be felt for many generations. Of course, she will have free will in this. She could refuse Me, but she will not. Xander, I will ask more of you when the time is full, and what I will ask will not be easy for you. I know that you can protect her, and I know that you will do anything that I ask of you, but I wish for you to accept this willingly. You can decline this, if you wish, and continue as you have always been. Do you wish to have a different charge?”
Xander had never heard of any angel being given a choice. Humans had free will; angels did as they were commanded. However, he carefully considered what the Father of All had said to him before he answered, though his head remained bowed.
“My Lord, You chose me for this, and I am humbled that I was selected. You know all things, and You seek only what is good for all that You have created. The only reason I exist is to serve You, and I would no longer wish to live if I did not do my best to please You in all things. Please allow me to protect this special child.”
God spoke. “Your request is granted.”
Xander was somewhat acquainted with the protectors assigned to his charge’s parents and older sister. If the other three were surprised at his presence with them, they were too well trained to betray it. As guardians of the same family, the team shared their own minds as well as knowing those of their charges and other people who were in close proximity. Within a few seconds of joining the team, he knew the entire history of the small group consisting of the humans and those assigned to guard them. All guardians and others of their ranks with different responsibilities could communicate with each other telepathically, but the complete knowledge of another’s mind was limited to those who shared guardianship of a family within the confines of a few miles of distance.
Only the servants of his Master, along with children too young to have made a decision, had guardians. This human family had been guarded throughout their lifetimes. The mother of his charge, Lynne Bennet, had made her decision early in her life, as had her parents and grandparents. The father, David, though born into a non-servant family, had become a follower when he was sixteen and had first heard the story. Janna, the older sister, had been a believer from early childhood and was now nine and a half years old. They were faithful followers, but they were not unusual. Suddenly, a startling thought occurred to Xander. The Son had been born to an ordinary family in a humble place. Perhaps there was more to this family than he had seen thus far. The Master had a way of using the humble to confound the mighty.
Xander, or Darcy as he was known whenever he decided to take human form, was the largest of the four protectors, with a sharp intelligence and a massive strength. Though humans could not see them unless the light beings chose to be seen, Xander’s appearance and towering height were intimidating even to others of his own kind. He was known to be fierce in the execution of his duties, and he was one of the few guardians who had battled the dark forces with an unblemished record. Xander had never been defeated. He had never lost a battle. His charges were his first priority, and he had kept all of them safe until their appointed times.
He had seen all the good and the bad of the human race, and felt some comfort that he would be with a family of believers who loved and respected each other. He and the others had been created for a purpose. He never had doubted that his purpose was a lofty one, and that he was perfectly suited to it. From the beginning of time, he had been a protector, a guardian, as had the others with whom he would share this assignment. They had been part of the host who had witnessed the creation of the first humans, their separation from the Master, and their willful disregard for His plans. The guardians had been present at every major event in human history. As Mary’s guardian, Xander had been present at the birth of the Lamb of God, and he had been by Mary in her grief at the crucifixion. Protectors had seen wars, violence, plagues, murders, and the effects of humanity’s greed and lust for power. Though the human race had deserted the Master over and over, He had never turned His back on them. Xander was constantly amazed and awed by the One whom he served. The perfect love of the Master for human beings was an enigma for which he had no explanation.
Guardians, and others of their kind, existed in a frequency of the light spectrum invisible to human eyes, but they saw each other, and they could assume a visible human form if they wished to do so. As ancient beings, they were not overly concerned with appearance. They knew that many things were more important than how a being looked. Even so, Xander was arresting. Among beings, all of whom were beautiful, his noble countenance was still remarkable. Whether he chose to appear in a human form or to remain in his natural state, he stood six feet nine inches tall with eyes the color of a cloudless summer sky. His gaze was intense and unwavering, never missing the smallest detail, sending fear through his enemies and a sense of safety to his charges. His dark brown, wavy hair meandered to his neck, falling carelessly in loose curls across his strong brow. Xander’s broad, well-muscled shoulders, bronzed arms, and powerful legs hinted at his unparalleled speed and strength. His chiseled jaw, aristocratic nose, and full lips were perfect, and his rare smile was breathtaking. He appeared to shimmer in the simple, sleeveless, short white tunic he wore which was the garb of all protectors, as was the razor sharp sword which hung from the belt on his hip. A single swift blow from that sword had sent uncounted dark ones screaming and spiraling into the abyss.
His mind was incomparable. He was well-known for his ability to make difficult decisions quickly, and his good judgment ensured that his final choices were the correct ones. If he chose to speak, he was never ignored. His voice carried authority, yet it was never unkind. Though Xander’s appearance and mind were those of a warrior, he was surprisingly gentle when he was not engaged in battle.
Xander had been bored, amused, surprised, and vexed, but he had never known the stronger emotions of anger, hatred, jealousy, or love. He had experienced the righteous anger every protector knew in guarding his charges from the dark ones, but never any anger on his own behalf. Those types of feelings were distinctly human. He had observed them but never experienced them. He did not desire to do so. He had seen the havoc wreaked by unchecked passions. Human empires had fallen because of jealousy and greed. People had murdered each other when they were ruled by the anger which was fueled by their hatred. Wars were fought in the name of every conceivable emotion. Even members of the host had been affected by allowing their emotions free reign; many of his kind had fallen from heaven and left the service of the Master because of their abominable pride and selfish lust for power. They had lost their light, and now served Beelzebub, Lord of the underworld, Prince of Darkness. No, Xander had no wish for emotions to interfere with his existence; he liked things as they were – orderly and uncomplicated.
Xander folded his arms over his chest and recalled the conversations of the family over the last few years that had led to this event occurring now in this delivery room. He narrowed his eyes as his thoughts drifted back in time, his perfect mind revisiting the thoughts of the other protectors he had heard upon joining the group.
The child was special to her family, of course. Xander had observed that her mother had wanted another baby two years after the birth of their daughter Janna, and had asked David if they could have another child, but he had not agreed. He had feared that his small income as a minister along with Lynne’s teaching salary would not support two children, and he did not want to be unable to provide a good education and everything else that he felt was needed for his offspring. Lynne had not mentioned her desire again, but had prayed daily that if God wanted her to have another child, David would bring it up himself by the time she was thirty-five years old. As Janna grew, David had realized how much he enjoyed being a father. He had seen his wife holding the babies of her friends; he had seen her wistful expression as she had kissed the children and handed them back to their mothers. He loved her, and it had been difficult to bear her subtle sadness. His adored little Janna also had voiced her longing for a sister or brother.
During the earth year 1989, both David and Lynne had turned thirty-five. In July of that year, after returning from a summer retreat with the youth of the church, he had walked calmly into their house and made a life-altering statement.
Lynne and Janna had been watching TV when David had arrived. Lynne was lying comfortably on the couch when David had looked at her with a bemused expression and said, “If you still want to have another baby, I want to have one, too.”
Because she had already accepted that she was now thirty-five and her desire for another child would go unfulfilled, she had nearly fallen off the couch in shock. “Are you serious, David? What brought about this change?” Her mind spinning, she was thinking, Why didn’t I pray that he would agree by the time I was thirty? Can I really do this at thirty-five? Then, amused at her own inner response to David’s capitulation, she chuckled softly as she thought, This is no longer a choice. God has answered my prayers in a definite way. This is His will, and He will help me through it. I must not develop a lack of faith now.
When his wife had questioned him a second time, David had avoided telling her what had caused him to change his mind. Lynne had known instinctively that God had dealt with him, and that He had answered her prayers; however, she wisely kept those thoughts to herself, not wishing to antagonize her husband. David had been sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. It was enough.
In her extreme joy and excitement, Lynne had called her mother, Norma.
“Mom,” she chattered, eager to share her news. “We’re going to have another baby!”
“You’re pregnant again?” asked Norma, a hint of surprise in her voice.
“Well, not yet. But David has finally agreed.” Lynne paused, puzzled by her mother’s lack of a congratulatory response.
“Honey, you’ve been on the pill for more than nine years now. You may not be able to get pregnant right away. It may take a while, and you’re thirty-five years old now. Slow down a little, Sweetheart.” Norma hated for Lynne to be disappointed.
“But, Mom, I’ve prayed for this child for all those years. I won’t have any problem getting pregnant.”
And she didn’t have any problem at all. Now that David’s mind was made up, he happily, even eagerly, joined with Lynne in her efforts to conceive. She stopped taking the birth control pills, and she and her husband explored alternate means to prevent conception until the time was right. Both David and Lynne seemed to wear perpetual smiles during those months.
“David,” Lynne had whispered playfully to him one night, her green eyes twinkling in good humor. “I hope you don’t mind all the extra work we’ve been putting into making a baby. You must be tired.”
He had grinned lazily at her and replied in mock seriousness as he turned on his side to face her in their bed. “Not at all. I’m always ready to do my part for the cause.” Then, in earnest, he had added tenderly, “You know that this is the best part of deciding to have another child. Maybe we could put a little more effort right now into realizing our goal.” And they did.
Ever practical and thorough, Lynne had immediately added maternity coverage to their medical insurance, aware that it would have to be in place for ninety days in order for it to cover her pregnancy. Then she had counted down the days. She needed to conceive after the first day of October to be covered. Just as she had planned, by her estimation, she had become pregnant on October second. The child would be born in July after her teaching year ended, and she would be able to resume teaching when the new school term resumed in mid-August. The small Christian school at which she taught had a daycare, and the baby was already registered for the next year.
Xander nodded gravely. Yes . . .This child was in God’s design for their lives.
They could have no way of knowing, as he did, that their child was in God’s design for the rest of the world as well.