the boys

the boys

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I lived to tell about it, and so I will.

I have been reading 90 Minutes in Heaven which is a true story about a man who died in a car accident in the late 1980's and was dead for 90 minutes before coming back to life.  He was brought back to life by the power of prayer and the grace of God.  If you don't believe it is true or possible, I encourage you to read the book. 

As you may know, I had my own experience with heaven and dying a little over twelve years ago (  I was dead for just under one minute and my experience with heaven was brief but wonderful beyond words.  God wasn't ready to keep me yet, but I am forever grateful of the glimpse of what is to come.
It is comforting to me to read the book for several reasons.  First, Don Piper's experience in heaven was much longer than mine and therefore much more detailed and extensive.  I can only think of how lucky he was to have seen more. 

I also have a good friend who had a similar experience.  Several months before I wrote the blog about my heavenly experience, I randomly mentioned it to a friend of mine who then told me that she, too, had died and experienced heaven several years ago.  I hadn't mentioned my experience to anyone in quite some time.  She had stopped telling anyone about it because the response she received was less than supportive.  But somehow and for some reason she and I shared our stories with each other out of the blue.  She recently had a close family member pass away.  I know now that God opened up our discussion to reinforce to her that heaven is real and hopefully help her work through this difficult time in her life.

It just makes me wonder how many people are experiencing the joys of heaven, even though temporary, but shy away from sharing their story in fear of rejection and ridicule.  And wasn't I kind of one of them?  I never doubted my own experience, but I was so prepared for others to doubt it that it was easier to keep to myself.  I don't know why I write "was so prepared" when really I remain in that place.  I continue to be prepared to defend my experience instead of just letting it be.  Letting it speak for itself.  Those who want to hear it will listen.  If I'm lucky, those that don't want to hear it might listen and it might make a difference. 

I didn't mention it to anyone for several months after my experience.  Then I started feeling out a few friends to see how the information would be received.  Again, very similar to Don Piper's experience in the book.  Like Don, the more people I told the more I realized people were very open to the information.  Then in about 2001 or maybe 2002 I was speaking at an America Heart Association event which I often did in those first few years after my heart surgery.  I am guessing there were a couple hundred people in the room.  My typical speech was one of "it could happen to anyone" sort of theme.  I was a seemingly healthy and active young adult who experienced a serious cardiac event that almost took my life.  But as I spoke I kind of drifted off my usual speech and found myself telling this large group about my experience in heaven.  I know now that it was God's hand pushing me to share the joys of heaven with this group.  Afterwards I was sort of self-conscious that I had branched out from the topic at hand and perhaps the organizers of the event wouldn't be pleased.  After all, it was not a religious gathering.  It was a fund raising event. I was pleasantly surprised to be approached by many people after the event thanking me for sharing my experience. 

So like a small child, with that positive reinforcement I began to repeat my behaviors.  I started telling a few more people, and then a few more.  I was living in Alabama at the time and people don't shy away from religion down there.  They embrace it.  It was easy to start sharing.  But I was still sharing in comfortable settings.  I was sharing in places or situations where I knew the information would be well received.  Even telling this story via my blog is a relatively safe way (emotionally) to share it.
As I read Don's book I felt like I was reading my own story.  I could relate to so much of what he experienced.  His recovery was WAY more difficult than mine in a physical sense.  He was in the hospital for months and has undergone dozens of surgeries.  But somewhere in the midst of his recovery he began to understand that God left him in this life for a reason and a purpose.  That purpose is to share the experience.  I am encouraged to do the same.  Reading his book has brought me to a renewed sense of peace and understanding about my experience with death and heaven.

I lived to tell about it.  There are not a lot of people that can say that.  I lived to tell about it.  And I will. 

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book and I love that you share your story. I so believe in Heaven and all great that is to come. I have had many spiritual experiences and " visits" from heaven and it feels good to know what is on the other side. Keep on sharing! I hope you guys are all doing great!