Graham Snow - Love of the Father - Harare, Zimbabwe - 1989

It's not always easy to speak to people who you don't know and have never met before but it's lovely to feel that we are of one spirit and can have fellowship together. Tonight, I thought I would try to tell you a little of what the Father has meant to me over the years and try to give you little pictures of what the heart of the Father is like. In the chapter you have for tonight, Proverbs 28. It speaks about the sweeping rain that leaves no food. but what we need is the gentle rain that soaks in slowly, softens our hearts, and goes down deep. There is a great gentleness in the heart of the Father.

In John 14 from verse 1, it reads, "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” Thomas saith unto him, “Lord we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?”Jesus saith unto him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me ye should have known My Father also; and from henceforth ye know Him and have seen Him." Philip saith unto Him, "Lord, shew us the Father and it sufficeth us." The disciples seemed a little confused at this time and Thomas asked a question and then Philip said, "Shew us the Father and it sufficceth us."

In Matthew 13:44,"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field: the which when a man hath found he hideth and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field." That man sold all that he had to buy one field. He may well have had many fields, a house, cattle, donkeys, and camels. Implements, tools, and he sold everything he had so that he could buy that one field wherein a treasure was hid. Now most people would say that that's bad business to sell all that you have and put it into one field. I thought of it as being like the Gospel and the treasure being like Salvation.

While I was in France a while back, a young boy came to me and very proudly showed me his Italian car which he had just bought. It looked in very good condition, good upholstery, and good body work and had only done 70.000kms. When I looked at it, and I'm no expert, I could see that he had been had: it had done more like 170.000kms. Christ came down from Heaven to this earth leaving all being tested and tempted and finally had nails driven through His hands and feet, suffering great agony hanging on the cross because of His great love for folk like you and me, Humanly speaking it was a bad deal - He had paid too much. But he was willing for this so that we could have Eternal Life.

I once heard a story about a slave who was going to be auctioned. He was a healthy well-built young man. As soon as he heard he was going to be auctioned, he shouted and said that he would not serve or work for anyone and that they could beat him, do anything they liked and even kill him but that he wouldn't work for whoever bought him. The auction proceeded and there was one man who determined to buy the slave, kept bidding a little higher than anyone else and this man finally bought the slave having paid a high price for him. Again the slave shouted and performed and said that he would not work or serve that master and that they could beat or whip him or even kill him but he would not work for anyone. The man came up to the slave and spoke quietly and gently to him and then handed him a piece of paper on which was written, "Your freedom." The master told the slave that he was now free to go away and that he would never again have to work or serve anyone; he was free to do whatever he liked. "I have paid the price for your freedom." The slave's attitude then changed completely and out of gratitude he then said, "I will gladly serve you from dawn to dark seven days a week, year after year till the end of my life - forever." I am glad for the way I have felt over the years that no one has ever forced me to serve God, read or pray have fellowship have a part in meetings or go into the work. Out of gratitude, I have felt that I would like to serve my Master freely because of the price he has paid for my freedom.

During the war years, I did not know my father. He was just a photo on the mantelpiece and then when he came home, he was a stranger. After that, he became a father who seldom smiled and was very stern and harsh and always seemed to be correcting us. Later on, I went into the same business with him and we worked together and became great friends. Others commented and said, "Look at those two brothers talking!" Sometimes it's like that with God and the longer we go on with Him, the closer He becomes. After the war years, Father worked in a foundry and one day, some very hot molten iron fell on his foot. He immediately put into cold water but the foot was very badly burnt through to the bone and he was in hospital for weeks having skin grafts. One day, I asked my father, "Dad, did you cry when you were burnt?" He said, "No." Then I asked, "Did you shout, scream or swear?" He said that he didn't and I could hardly believe that he didn't shout or even shed a tear but just bore the pain.

One day, I did something that displeased my father and incurred his wrath. He sent me to my bed without any supper and I thought he was very hard. Next morning, my mother spoke to me and said, "Last night, your father wept over you because of what you had done and because of his love concern for you." It touched me to think that he never shed any tears when he was burnt and suffered such pain yet he wept over me that night.

 

That is a little picture of the heart of the Father. Phillip said, "Shew us the Father and it sufficeth us." When Jesus was on the cross and they drove the nails through His hands and feet, He bore that physical pain and suffered terrible agony but He never screamed out, not one bad word, yet another time when He looked over Jerusalem, He wept. That was a picture of the heart of the Father.

1 thought of the greatness of the Father. The Bible tells us that God was from Eternity to Eternity. When we look into space and the heavens above, we know that it goes on forever. If we send a rocket up after a 100 years, it will still be travelling. I used to sometimes think that there must be a roof - but then, what's beyond the roof? I could still understand that there's no end to the future but I found it hard to grasp that there was never a beginning, that God was always there even before the creation. From Eternity to Eternity, our small puny minds cannot comprehend it all and it's beyond our human comprehension. To think that some have the audacity to question or reason out the mind of God in all His greatness.

In I John 1:7, it says, "If we walk in the Light as He is in the Light then the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin." When the death angel came around Egypt, it wasn't looking for the righteous or the unrighteous, the good, or the bad: it only had eyes for the blood on the doorposts. There was more hope for an unrighteous man in the house with blood on the doorpost than for a righteous man outside.

I had a young cousin who, when she was 16 years old, found she had a lump on her head which turned out to be malignant and she died at the age of 20. When she was younger, she had no love for the meetings, the friends, and the workers. When meeting time came, she would go outside and play ball or sometimes say that she felt sick but soon after the meeting when lunch was served, she would have a good meal and there appeared to be nothing wrong. She was very rebellious. When she was 18 years old,, she sat at the piano one day and with tears rolling down her cheeks played that hymn, "Jesus loves me, yes, even me." That day she got a little picture of the heart of the Father. "Shew me the Father and it sufficeth me."

My mother's cousin in Ireland has just professed at the age of 83 - he had professed when he was 15 years old but then went out and stayed out for almost 70 years. After he had professed at 83, he thought about all the years that he had lived selfishly and he felt it was hardly fair that God should accept him now at his age and it worried him. Then one night, he opened his Bible to the verse that says that there is joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth. Perhaps one could feel that it was by chance that he read that verse but it wasn't and he fell that that verse was for him. A little picture of how the Father feels.

"Shew us the Father and it sufficeth us." There is a difference between washing and cleansing. You can wash something with soap, detergents, and scrub as much as you like but the stain still remains. No sin can resist the blood of Christ. In Isaiah 1:18, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." If we walk in the Light as He is in the light - not just in the light, not just following casually. We can keep someone in view in the distance and still be following but not as He is in the Light. Imagine someone walking in the snow or on the beach leaving footprints behind. To follow in those footprints, placing our feet in each footprint calls for concentration, effort, and sacrifice.

You can't just take any length of stride you have to change your stride to fit in with the one who went before. That is walking in the Light as He is in the Light. In England recently, the man I stayed with wanted to take me for a walk to show me around some of the countryside and he told me all sorts of things but I soon noticed that each time he talked, we stopped walking. Sometimes, we can be inclined to "talk our walk" instead of "walking our talk." If we talk too much, we don't do much walking. In the Old Testament, we read about a key to Fellowship. For 6 days, Joshua and the people of God walked around the walls of Jericho in silence but on the 7th day, they could shout and the walls fell down so that they could conquer the enemy. It should be like that with us - we should walk for 6 days and on the 7th day, we can speak.

When I was young, I often visited my Granny sat around her table, ate her food and talked with her and I loved my Granny. She was my Granny and I was her grandson. Later on, she became ill had a stroke and was taken to hospital where we visited her often. One day we were called to the hospital and told that she was critical but when we arrived she was already dead. When I looked at her corpse, I felt that I couldn't love her anymore. I couldn't even touch her. She was dead. Isn't it wonderful that God loved us even when we were still dead- a picture of the heart of the Father. Because we're human, sometimes it's hard enough to love our friends, but God said we must love even our enemies. God loved us even before we were His children. "Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us."



***Notes were not taken. We have just jotted down what we could remember of what was said at the combined Wednesday evening meeting on November 1, 1989, when Graham Snow passed through. He has been working in Switzerland since 1964 and was on his way to New Zealand for a home visit.