Still touched by an angel

Unexpected Blessings: 90 Inspirations to Nourish Your Soul and Open Your Heart
Author: Roma Downey
Publisher: Howard Books
Pages: 249

In my small circle I felt alone in my appreciation for Touched by an Angel. Some felt that it didn’t go far enough. Salvation in Christ was absent. I marveled that “God loves you” was proclaimed each week on national TV.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone because the show became popular lasting for nine seasons. At the heart of it was the sometimes feisty but caring banter between co-stars Roma Downey and Della Reese, one of the great duos in television history. A highlight in this devotional are the occasional thoughts on their close relationship.

Though it may have been absent in the series, faith in Christ is not foreign to these writings. It informs every comforting and challenging page. Who would have guessed in the early days of the show that a book pointing to Jesus would come forth many years later?

Each segment starts with a small quote from Box of Butterflies, Downey’s previous book, or some other inspirational thought. A scripture verse central to the main thought is included along with a concise, well-written reflection. These are grouped under the topics: strength, kindness, courage, love, stillness, gratitude, home and lastly, you’ll never walk alone. Each ends with a short prayer.

Downey makes herself vulnerable in personal stories drawn from her life and work. This is what makes it especially rewarding. Readers get to know her though glimpses into her struggles and stories about Touched by an Angel and other productions. It makes me want to investigate the other programs and read Box of Butterflies.

If you are wondering about the butterfly connection, they are a sign to Downey of God’s nearness, giving her comfort through difficult times. Her mom’s favorite flowers were pansies, which she said reminded her of little butterflies. Shortly after her mother passed, she and her father took some pansies to her mother’s grave. A butterfly flew in front of them as they thought about their significance. “I have always felt that that butterfly was a gift from God, a reminder of his loving presence.”

Though the entries are short, easy reading they can be life-changing. The challenge is applying them but the author makes it practical and her love and compassion are obvious.

If you are a fan of Touched by an Angel this is highly recommended. The inspiring words along with the beautiful cover, graphics and layout make this a keeper. It may even be well-received by those outside the Christian faith. It appeals to those shaped by popular culture.

I purposely never wanted to read more than one a day so as to savor what’s here. It’s not My Utmost for His Highest or Streams in the Desert but has a light of its own.

Mike Dalton