I was very angry with God. I had considered myself to be a Christian. After all, I went to church and took communion once a month. What more did God want? But just before I was 20, God took my father away from me. There was no way I could understand it. My father did so many good things. He worked a lot with young people, and especially the Scouts. How could God be good, as the Bible told me He was, when He had taken my father from me at such an early age? From that moment it was as if I built a high brick wall and made sure God stayed behind it.
Although I now doubted everything to do with God, I still used to talk about things. I met and married Liz, who was involved with the Youth Group, and we would regularly visit friends who went to the church. One night when we were all together, I took one of my friends outside and started to talk to him about how I felt. I explained about this brick wall that I had put up between me and God. From that night I believe I started to chisel away the wall bit by bit, but it was a very slow process.
17th April 1993 was a Saturday, and I was preparing to take part in a Scouts’ swimming gala, something I looked forward to. I felt great, and could not wait for my race to start. About three-quarters of the way down the 100- metre pool I started losing the use of my left side, and had to turn on my back to complete the length. Of course I knew what was happening to me, but I could not admit it was happening. An ambulance came. The pain in my chest was like a 40 stone man pushing down on my chest, and I kept shouting, ‘Please get off me’, or I thought I did. But whoever this 40 stone man was, he just kept on pushing down harder on my chest. I was immediately taken to the Coronary Care Unit, and I was wired up to various machines. I had sustained a massive heart attack.
During that time, I left my body. I could see myself lying on the bed. I was surrounded by darkness. In that darkness I began to see people milling around, and they had hoods on their heads. Suddenly a light appeared, and they began to go in that direction. I knew I had to go with them. I followed that light and when I got to the bottom of it, to what I thought was the centre of the light, I saw another, even brighter light.
This was the brightest, white light imaginable, and in front of me, beneath the light, was a pair of feet. As I went towards the Figure in the light, knowing it was Jesus, He began speaking to me. For a moment He moved, as it were, to one side. At that moment I had a glimpse of a wonderful scene. There were rolling hills and countryside, and through this countryside was bright, running water.
Having glimpsed what I know to be Heaven, I wanted to see the face of Jesus. But He told me that if I looked upon Him I would not be able to return to my body. That did not worry me. He said there was a reason for me to return to this Earth and I was to turn around and see. What I saw were five people. Jesus told me I had to come back to do a work for Him, and part of that work concerned these people.
Having made the decision to return, I saw was a brief glimpse of a few people standing around my body, one person having electric paddles in his hands. ‘We’ve got him’, I heard them cry. Then I remember regaining consciousness, and looking at my wife and mother standing at the end of my bed.
Although I had had such a clear experience, I still doubted. Was my experience truth or fiction? I had never read any books, or heard stories, of people to whom similar things had happened. So confused was I that I found it almost impossible to tell anyone about my experience. That was until the second Monday of October in 1993. On that evening a man called Ian McCormack was speaking at a dinner held by the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. He was to be sharing his story of how he died for 15 minutes, and I knew that I must go and listen to what he had to say. I had to find out the truth about what I had seen- whether I had seen truth, or fiction. On two occasions, as he told his story, he broke down in tears. I was crying with him, because I could relate to everything he said. Finally I knew, beyond any doubt, that what I had seen was the truth.
When Ian finished his story he announced that there was going to be a time of prayer. What amazed me even more was what followed. Unless the Lord had told him, he could not possibly have known about me. He said, ‘There are two people here tonight who have heart problems, and I want to pray for these two in particular. Would those two people raise their hands.’ No way he can be talking about me, was my initial thought. But my arm went up. The other person was a lady and, because she was sitting nearer the front, she was the first to reach Ian for prayer. As I listened to Ian and his wife Jane, praying for her, I wondered what on Earth was going on. He then turned to me. Jane placed her hand over my heart and Ian placed his hand over my head. It was as if I was there, but not there. I could hear them praying, but I did not seem to be in this world. I had this strange tingling sensation running through my body, almost as if the blood were draining away, and yet it was a great feeling. I had another sensation of beautiful warmth, spreading from my head down to my feet.
Early in 1994 I was called in by the hospital for an angiogram. My cardiologist was delighted because my arteries were completely clear, the only damage being scar tissue. He immediately discharged me.
I am no longer one who doubts God and His love. My doubts have been replaced by trust.
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