by David Brandyberry –
Many Christians have experienced some awesome moments in their lifetime. My life with Christ started as a child, the son of an E.U.B. (now United Methodist) pastor. For years I experienced dreams as an angel, flying above my bed and being able to look at myself from above. I experienced the Holy Spirit coming down upon me while I was on a newspaper route, bicycle and all. I was in a daze for three days. I really did not have the full knowledge as to what had happened to me. It was like being in a trance. I realized afterwards that my life had been transformed by the spirit. I was eternally blessed by God and knew that my life was of God and with God. Then followed an experience of complete surrender while at a week-long church camp in Ohio. There, the Holy Spirit came upon me again to reinforce that I was a child of God and I would be on this earth for one purpose and that was to serve His children and bless them.
At age seven, I was already taking piano lessons and enjoyed “making music”. At that age, I also played an offertory for a church service where my Dad was pastor. In high school and college where I majored in Voice and minored in keyboard, I really got into the music scene. I enjoyed accompanying soloists and choirs and singing solos, in ensembles and choirs. Coupled with my commitment to my Lord, my church music ministry appeared to be in the making. I toured Europe with my college concert choir and blessed those listening to my organ, piano and vocal solos. I took my first organist/choir directing job while in college at Heidelberg University, Tiffin, OH. After marriage and college, I first played the organ at Hyde Park Presbyterian Church in Tampa, FL. Even though I continued to bless others through my music in numerous churches, two bad marriages and a bad moral atmosphere where I worked, soured my relationship with God. It took me away from that closeness and the spirit coming within me to keep that love there so deep in my heart. Periodically, I still had the dreams of flying as an angel but never could figure out why this was and that eventually God would reveal that. When the plant closed and the chapters of two bad marriages had ended, my job also was lost. The plant where I had worked for over 20 years closed.
So where was I to go from here? I could have abandoned God and said that He just deserted His child, the one that the Holy Spirit had touched on a bicycle paper route, and the one that touched a teenage life at church camp. Has He abandoned the child that had two marriages end in disaster and then lost a job of 20 years? No. When I had lost everything, God was there to hold and restore me to a stronger relationship—one that continues to grow to this day. At first, He blessed me with a job within two months, a better job than I had and more money. It was a job where I worked with other Christians. Then He blessed me with church positions that, to this day, remain and continue to grow my faith in my Lord and my Savior. It was very evident that God’s plan was to bless others with my music so that I could help them grow in their faith and their closeness to Him. But little did I know that He had such a wonderful plan in store for my life. God is exciting! When you let Him take you through this life, it is like an adventure that surpasses any TV special, especially when it is your life that He is blessing.
I spent 17 years living in a house that God had blessed me with. As a single person, this is the first house God had given me. Who would have ever thought that when I hit “rock bottom”, when I had absolutely nothing, that I would own my own home. God is so awesome! The half acre yard I had with this house was getting to be too much. I had moved there when I was 50 years old. Now I was 67. I needed a house with a small yard or maybe a townhome/condo. That way I could hire the small yard work or have none at all. I was tired of yard work after all those years. Even as a child and teenager, I mowed yards to earn money for college. So I bought a very nice home, a step up, and a bit more money. This house, I thought, had everything to satisfy my needs. From the very beginning, there were problems with the builder, the turf grass burnt from the sun and just many things I found to be shoddy workmanship. After dealing with all these problems and the bank not wanting to close the mortgage on the day promised, I started to get strange smells in the house, almost a year later. It got so bad, that to be in the house, I needed to wear a respirator. Eventually I moved to a hotel and then to an apartment where I now reside. I had to put the house up for sale and it has now sold.
You would have thought in the midst of all this, that God had once again abandoned His child. Not so. Because the best part of my life was to come. A month later, in a hotel room, in a dream, God came to me to tell me that all the years that He has given me these dreams of flying as an angel, that He was trying to tell me that I indeed was an angel that He had sent from heaven to this earth to bless people not only in my music but to care for all those that needed my care and my ministry. Towards the end of the dream God gave to me a song, surprisingly a secular one. It was Dean Martin singing to me the song “Volare”. The words he was singing: “No wonder my happy heart sings. Your love has given me wings. Volare, oh oh. Volare, cantare, oh______”. I then realized how God was telling me that I had every reason to be happy with Him in my life and that is why He had given me the wings of an angel, an angel of glory to love and care for His children. After the dream, I went to my computer to find out about the song “Volare”. It said that “Volare” meant “fly”. It blew me away. God had commissioned me to be His angel on this earth to serve His people.
And now, where does this all lead? The next 7-8 months proved to be the highest point of my life! Sometimes we think, at retirement age, life can’t get any better. I’m here to tell you that it can be exhilarating. After this experience, naturally my life has changed to have a greater commitment to my Lord and what He expects from me. Then the most awesome thing happened on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2016. That morning, while in bed, I had closed my eyes for a period of time, a prayer time with God. I was talking to Him and He to me. I was praising and thanking Him for all He had done for me. And then, as my eyes were still closed, in an instant, there was Jesus, coming down to me with outstretched arms, palms open wide. His robe was white and around Him was a halo of blue that just glowed. Before I knew it, he was there, right with me. His palms open and outstretched to me. I proceeded to touch His hands. To describe His hands is mind-blowing. They were very rough like a working man would have. I could see the creases in His hands. You could trail one crease on His right hand to the nail hole where He was crucified. The blood was still there, dried and brittle. When I touched it, pieces of the blood would flake off. He never said a thing but blessing me with touching His crucified hands was a vision I will never forget. Seeing His face, His robe, the blue halo surrounding Him and His outstretched arms to me, will be a vision I will always be embedded in my memory forever. It will be there until I return to heaven to be with Him again. Again I will hold His nail scarred hands. And this time, we will embrace. They say that 2000 years is but yesterday but eternity is forever. I touched the hands of Jesus, right after the resurrection. The resurrection has such new meaning for me. I saw that blood and felt it. I saw the results of what He did for me on the cross. I felt the dried blood that was shed for me to wash away my sins and the sins of the world.
After this has happened, my life has changed forever. My total commitment to Him is beyond measure. I love my Lord so much that “love” seems like a puny word to describe it. I realize now, at least, that Jesus, coming to me that day was His reassurance, after all I have been through in my lifetime, that He will always be by my side to love and hold me. Do I now have any worries? How can I have worries when I now know that I have touched the hands of God, my Savior. As time goes on, I know that I will eventually learn more and understand the whole meaning of that moment when Jesus came to me with open arms.
For me this means not only total commitment. It means that I have a testimony to tell this world. If there are those that doubt that there is a God. If there are those that doubt that Jesus is the son of God. If there are doubts that God and His son Jesus are active in this world and right here among us. Believe me. There is no doubt. People have been to heaven and have come back to earth to tell about it. God was not ready for them. There are those that have had extreme religious experiences that show that our God is so real and ever present among us. I see Christians going to church on a regular basis. I see Christians that participate in church activities. I see Christians, unfortunately, that do not take their relationship with Christ seriously. I see them sometime come to an activity and the next time it is not important enough to be there. They take their lives as a Christian very lightly. There are more important things to do than to feed the poor. There are more important things to do than to help your neighbor. There are more important things to do than to love your enemies and to bring them to the realization that there is hope in Jesus Christ. The list can go on and on for excuses to not take seriously your life as a Christian. Christianity is your life. It is of service to God’s children. When I see, especially now (and I was once like them) people that take their responsibilities as Christians lightly, I feel badly for them. After my encounters with my Lord, how could I not be a light into the world as His servant? I realize that all will not have such an experience but my testimony alone and of many other Christians around the world will show beyond a shadow of a doubt that His light will be one that they will shine in their lives and proclaim the victory of our Lord and Savior to others. They will never want a reason not to work tirelessly for their Lord. It will be an immense joy in the lives. People that are totally committed will be happy people, enjoying every minute in service to God. I thought I would be happy in my “classy” home. But was I? I am happier living in a small “cubby hole” apartment. And this, because I have joy in the Lord and serving His people.
My life is a changed life. It is now a life of service to Him and His children. It is one of love and understanding. It is one of feeding the poor and volunteering to bless people so that they know, in every way, that Jesus is Lord of this universe. And this will never change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The above narrative of how I touched the hands of God, My Savior would probably be believed by few people. Many Christians would not believe since they are not totally within the body of Christ. However, I know what I have experienced. And those that I have told that know Christ in the spirit, also know that it is true.