January 27, 2012
This week I have been writing about the Holy Spirit and his importance in our lives. Monday I talked about how he grieves for us when we veer off of the path he has for us. He doesn’t grieve because he expects perfection and control, but because he has laid out an amazing plan for us and grieves when we choose a rougher, more painful road. That is a testament to His deep love for us.
On Wednesday I wrote about how He seals our softened hearts when we genuinely and sincerely give our lives to the Lord and ask for spiritual salvation. That seal marks us as His own, boldly for the world to see. He then works to transform our hearts on the inside so that we will one day be revealed as children of God.
Having grown up in church I learned of God and Jesus, but the Holy Spirit wasn’t talked about too much. Then one day I met a lady who introduced me to the Holy Spirit in a way I had never known. God had sent her to be my, and many others, spiritual mother. I thank God for her every day.
At that point I began to know, really know, the Holy Spirit and he is amazing. My life became a life of genuine certifiable miracles. I intend to someday to write a book entitled, ‘A Chronology of Miracles’, primarily as a legacy to my children. And yes, there are enough to fill a book, maybe two.
But today I want to talk about one instance of the genuine tender heart of the Holy Spirit and how he brought me through a potentially horrible point in my life.
My precious daddy died when I was only 28 years old. It was much too early, especially since he had been a diehard alcoholic until I was 15 and then completely and suddenly stopped drinking with no relapse. Yes, a miracle story that will go in the book, but not what I want to talk about today.
I only got to know my true daddy when he quit drinking and I was making up for lost time. Thirteen wonderful years was just not enough.
But, my daddy did become ill, in fact battled illness for a few years before he did die. Again, there were many miracles through those illnesses that will also be in the book. They were simply amazing and were actually written up by his doctors in two different articles in the New England Journal of Medicine.
But the Holy Spirit knew that even in spite of the miracles, my daddy would indeed die and sooner than I could bear. So a couple of years prior to his death, He began to prepare me. It was the genuine sweet love of the Holy Spirit that prompted Him to do this for me.
I read a lot continually, and mostly books by Christian authors. I also listened to teaching tapes and sermons of various preachers and evangelists. The Holy Spirit began to bring books, tapes and testimonies across my path about heaven. I was drawn to them and devoured them.
In this process He began to bring me the true revelation of heaven. Not just the knowing of heaven that we all have, but He began to truly bring it alive in my heart. To me it was such a real and genuine place that it seemed just like another city or town. I could see it vividly in my heart and my mind.
I had a very good friend at that time whom the Holy Spirit took through this journey with me. We would discuss endlessly the wonders and reality of heaven, amazed at how clearly and vividly it had been revealed to us.
So when that season of miracles finally ended and it was time for my daddy to go home, my mother called me to inform me of yet another cancer that the doctors had discovered. When I got off of the phone I sat down on the end of the bed and said, “Well I guess I better get to praying again.” And immediately the Holy Spirit said to me in the sweetest and gentlest way, “No, he is going home this time.”
There was a twinge of sorrow, but because He had taken such pains to teach me and reveal to me the reality of heaven, it did not affect me the way it would have. It was as if the Holy Spirit was saying, “Your father is getting on a bus to Toledo.”
That may sound absolutely absurd to you, but with all honesty that is exactly how it felt. My dear daddy, my dear friend, was moving away and I wouldn’t be able to see him for awhile.
The cancer, surgeries and radiation took a considerable toll on my dad. His once erect 6’ frame was now gaunt and bent forward. A man, who had usually weighed a healthy 180 hovered around 120. His hair was just thin wisps’ barely hanging on. His skin had a pasty pail pallor.
On the day that my dad died, I was at school. I had gone back to college and was sitting in my car on campus studying for a lab I was getting ready to take a test in. It was an odd kind of day and when I drove up to their house that late afternoon I saw them carrying the hospital bed out. No one ever told me, “Your father has passed away.”
When I arrived my mom’s best friend and a couple of others were full of hustle and bustle to get the house in order before my mom arrived back from the hospital where he had passed away. No one offered condolences; I was just swept up in their activity.
That night when I went home and laid down in bed my mind would not shut down. It kept rolling and rolling. The Holy Spirit was showing me my dad in heaven and how it was. It was almost like watching a vivid movie in my mind. It was very, very real. Had the Holy Spirit not prepared me for over year, I would not have been able to have had this vision in this real and vivid way.
I had to get up at that moment and write down what I was thinking and feeling and I knew that it would be read at my dad’s funeral. It had to be read at my dad’s funeral, and was.
So below is what I wrote and what was read. I believe to this day that within the multitudes that turned out for my dad’s funeral someone, maybe many, were touched and softened towards God the Father and Jesus, and it is all because of the tender work that the Holy Spirit was doing in my life at the time.
I am writing this for my father’s homecoming. To try and share the reality of heaven as an extension of life on earth.
By God’s wonderful grace, about a year and a half ago my Father God revealed the reality of heaven to me. Not a place like so many picture, with a floating, purposeless atmosphere, but an exciting place where the very center of life is generated from. A place where everyone has a plan and a purpose. A place where joy abounds in the bustling activity and yet without hurry or fatigue or frenzy.
I know my father is there now and he is full figured, healthy, with his youthful red hair and freckles. He is looking in the face of my precious Jesus and touching those nail scarred hands. Soon he’ll be at the throne of God, praising and worshipping our Father God, the way we here desire to do. He’ll eat at the banqueting tables and eat until he is full. I am sure his love and talent for farming will be put to good use. This is the reality which gives me peace.
He’ll see friends he hasn’t seen for awhile, family members, and children which were conceived but never allowed to be born.
He is where my heart longs to be. I celebrate his homecoming.
To those who do not understand how I can feel this way, you must surely not know my Father God, Brother Jesus, and Friend Holy Spirit. For my relationship with them has caused me to see how temporal life here on earth is, and grasp the reality of eternity. For we are not put here on this earth to please ourselves and wander aimlessly through life, but we are put here with purpose from a loving God.
In seeking God, and a relationship with Him, I have found more pleasure than I could have ever dreamed possible. I desire this for each of you here today. To not know Jesus in a personal one to one relationship is to not have life. To those of you who chose not to serve Jesus, you chose death. I cannot imagine life without Him. He watches over me second by second. His love and caring amaze to the point of awe. He cares for you the same. He asks nothing in return, but your love. Had my father not chosen to return God’s love, today would not be a day of celebration, but a day of mourning. Let me rejoice with you as this day, you choose life.
I have never, ever, felt one tiny spec of grief for my dad. It was just never there. I do miss him, and there have been many times that that longing to see him and be with him was palpable, but there was no grief.
I cry when I think of this miracle. I cry only in awe of the Holy Spirit’s love for me that he would take such pains to orchestrate knowledge and revelation for two years so that I would not have to experience grief. I am speechless at His love and humbled.
When a loved one moves away we can call and we can write, but heaven is one of those remote outposts that you can only get word there by carrier. So for years after my daddy arrived there I would ask the Holy Spirit, “Will you please tell my daddy that I love him and that I miss him?” And I knew that He did, every single time.
I am often amazed at how the Holy Spirit maneuvers things. I started the week off with the writing that I did and then Wednesday there was a continuation. But I didn’t know what I was to write about for today, which wasn’t unusual.
But yesterday I had to dig through tons of my mother’s old papers to find an important document that I needed, and came across the above writing. I hadn’t seen it in years and I just knew that the timing was right to talk about it. It fit just right in a week where I am urging everyone to become intimately acquainted with the Holy Spirit.
His love knows no bounds. He is actively working continually on your behalf. He is there for comfort, wisdom and revelation at all times. I wrote that letter 26 years ago and had known Him intimately 9 years prior to that.
I can attest to and state with all certainty that my amazing life of miracles was due to one thing and one thing only, my desire to be intimate with the Holy Spirit and follow him.
If you too want a life that is stunningly amazing and extraordinary, then ask the Holy Spirit today to become an intimate part of your life. Ask Him not to just be with you, but to fill you fully with all His glory, knowledge and revelation. You will be amazed at the great things that await you.
Leo Benton Snodgrass
5/8/1921 – 12/2/1986