Dear gutsisthekey Reader:
The following is heavy stuff. But it is real and I have lived through it. It is very personal and hard not to let my heart show in this. If you are looking for something trite & trivial; this is not it. Still, I believe that this BEAM will help some of you. So here it is.
When I was a little boy, I had many moments alone; when I was overwhelmingly convinced that someone else was there. Perhaps you have had the same experience. Maybe not. Maybe my experience will encourage you to see, what your eyes have not.
When I was literally pre-school, I preached a funeral for my neighbor, when his beagle died. I had this uncanny realization when I was a child that God was there and that I had a connection with Him. Furthermore, other people around me seemed to recognize this.
I remember being in a Sunday School room, when the general topic was that the Bible was like a bunch of fairy tales. They said it was a Really great book but we didn’t have to take it literally. Somehow, even at a young age I knew this wasn’t true and when I stood up for the truth of Jesus and God’s revelation of Him to us all. It was plain to all around that I saw something special.
I wish I could say that positive spiritual forces were the only unseen powers that I sensed. But unfortunately, I felt evil forces as well. I have had my share of very literal, graphic experiences with both. Some that I share. Some that I share with no one but God and my wife today.
I went walking one night as a young boy on a beautiful moonlit night. On this night, as I reached the end of Pennington Avenue; I had some kind of experience with God & angels. I can not describe it. God was there or was I there with Him? Not sure but it was a clear, true and unforgettable experience. As I walked home, I thought that maybe this kind of experience was something that happened to all boys at a certain age. Maybe it was some kind of rite of passage or something? So I asked my father about it. I described it to him, thinking he had probably had some kind of similar experience when he was a boy. He looked at me so strangely & obviously had no idea what I was talking about.
These experiences did not stop at childhood. I had a vivid confrontation with evil in my teen years; where the force literally appeared in a person. Another experience that I have never figured out, whether it was spiritual or extra-terrestrial. But I know it happened and there was physical evidence of it.
But my most incredible experiences have always been with God. They are too numerous to count. One especially important experience happened when I was about 14. I experienced such a supernatural touch that I literally glowed. A car slowed down, stopped as I walked on the sidewalk and asked me did I know I was literally glowing? – – I was not surprised. I felt it. I could describe many other experiences of God’s overshadowing and very literal, observable presence.
I became a youth minister at a small independent church, in between positions of my professional sales career. God showed up on a regular basis. I still hear from some of the young people who’s lives were touched by the clear manifestations of God’s presence.
At one point, when I had a very intimate experience with my Creator; a thunderstorm stirred up while I was on a hike: As the words “The fear of the Lord is clean” flashed through my mind. A lightning bolt literally landed beside me, as I dropped to my knees to worship. Heavy stuff, huh. Yeah. But it happened.
I remember being alone with my father after cancer surgery in the middle of the night at Duke University Center. His surgery went awry and because of internal bleeding, he literally swelled up twice his size. I called in the doctors and nurses. They could not get blood in him, as fast as he was losing it. At one moment, when the room was emptied as the doctors readied an operation room, for a second emergency surgery; I knew they would never operate on my father in time. I asked my father if I could pray with him. There in the stillness of the night, my father spoke aloud the 23rd Psalm. I did not know that he knew it, much less that he knew it by heart. Until he spoke it with conviction in that moment, dangling between life and death. As he prayed, I could feel the angelic host come in the hospital room. I could literally see the light lumens in the room brighten. My father, suddenly and unexplainably stopped bleeding without the 2nd surgery that he would have never survived, and this happened at that very moment. God was there.
I remember when my first wife of 20 years had a catastrophic brain injury that they declared her dead on arrival. I told them she was not dead & convinced them to operate. They told me immediately, after the surgery that she had suffered pre-cursor brain death. That it might be minutes or it might be an hour but she was surely dead. I would not believe this. I camped in her room night and day; played scriptures and music of healing around the clock in her room. If you did not believe that God could heal; I would not let you in the room. The doctors continued to say she would be catatonic and even if she did survive, she would not walk, talk, be able to feed herself or control her bodily functions.
Today, she does all of those. She walks, sings in the church choir, is bright, happy and blesses many people. It took many years for this to happen but it did & she is truly a miracle.
Don’t get me wrong, we suffered through the experience. She could not accept her mate as a guardian. I could not raise our children, work & take care of her around the clock as was necessary. She is taken care of by her mother and our life as we knew it was shattered. But her amazing energy & vibrancy is truly a miracle today that would not have happened had I not believed in life, when everyone around me declared death. I never got her back. But she lived & recovered astonishingly more than anyone said was possible. God showed up. Just in His own way. Not mine.
The experiences of God showing up in my life are too numerous to mention. How did I know to get my family in the car without previous plans and drive from Florida to NC all night long to see my father for the last 6 hours of his life? No one knew he was going to die. It was a surprise to everyone. But I was there. Talked intimately to him. Even tried to bring him back with CPR, when he fell dead in my son’s arms. I was there to hear the final thoughts of a great father to his son. Because I had a strong knowing, hunch, 6th sense, whatever you want to call it; that we had to leave Florida and drive all night long to be with him, in the morning 6 hours before he unexpectedly died. (Someone was obviously with me).
The majestic moment that God showed up in nature to confirm His leading to take on a new adventure with Dawn and my 4 stepsons (in addition to the two of my own). Near death moments, when God spared my life. Moments when God gave me physical strength to perform certain tasks to defend others, that I could not otherwise have done. On an on the list could go of moments when I knew God was there & He showed up clearly.
There was the moment I got a surprise call from the President of my college. He could not explain it but a letter from a church had somehow literally been attached to my profile. He felt it could be no accident and that he HAD to call me. So I called the little church in Tennessee, went there, became their minister & they my people for 3+ years. It was during that season that I became a Quaker. When I could have fell apart after my wife’s catastrophe, concentrating on God, my children and a people who needed my love literally held me together. All because, my resume somehow mysteriously got hooked to a letter from that church, literally without explanation. Someone was there leading. Unseen. But there nonetheless.
Following this Divine direction, as a minister at that special Quaker church in Tennessee; it was my duty to walk the last leg of the journey with many beautiful consecrated souls. Powerful experiences happened almost daily.
Many moments when God has shown up in my life have been to get me to speak for Him. Often this task has been assigned, when it has been heartbreaking and hard. I remember a special friend Beecher Bivens who was dying with emphysema. I visited with the family and tried to escape the room before I visibly cried. Beecher would not let me go. He called for me from his bedside and I returned as he asked me would I pray with Him one last time…. We took the real communion of God’s life together as we prayed. He knew and I knew it would be our last time to pray together. The awesomeness of what passed between he and I in that moment; I can never describe but it was as real as my breath…… I had many similar moments with other Saints; with whom I was blessed to take last steps of their journey in this life. It was hard but I knew clearly at the time and so did they;….. that God was there.
I could go on and on….. And maybe in other BEAMS I will… But I felt I had to write this. I have always known that we are not alone. Someone is there!! And that Someone is God.