One night while diving for lobster on the small Island of Mauritius I was stung on my forearm by 5 Box-Jellyfish, which the local Creole fishermen called “invisables” A sting from a Box-Jellyfish often proves to be fatal – as exemplified in Australia where 70 people are known to have died from their stings. Many books quote this particular type of Jellyfish to be among the most venomous creatures in the world.
By the time an ambulance arrived my body was totally paralyzed and necrosis had begun to set into my bone marrow. On route to the hospital I began to see my life flash before me. At this point of my life I was an atheist – but I knew I was nearly dead and I didn’t know if there was life after death or whether there was just nothing. As I lay there dying, I saw my mother in a vision praying for me, encouraging me to cry out to God from my heart and He would hear me and forgive me (my mother was the only Christian in our family.) I didn’t know what to pray and cried out that if God was real, could He help me to pray. Immediately God showed me the Lord’s Prayer, and for the first time in my life I prayed from my heart and gave my life to the Lord.
Death & Hell
The ambulance stopped and they placed me in a wheel chair and raced me into the hospital. The nurse took my blood pressure twice but could not find a pulse as my veins had collapsed. The doctors tried to save my life by injecting anti-toxins and dextrose into my body, but seemingly to no avail. Within a few minutes I seemed to slip away (apparently life ceased from my body for a period of approx. 15 minutes).
During this time I found myself in a very dark place, not realising where I was. So I tried to find a light switch, thinking I was still in the hospital – but as I reached out into the dark I couldn’t touch anything. Reaching to touch my face I found my hand go straight through it. It seemed so bizarre, as I knew I was standing there but couldn’t touch any part of my physical body.
As I stood there I began to sense that this wasn’t just a physical darkness but that there was something else there. I could feel a cold eerie feeling as though something or someone was looking at me – a spiritual darkness. From the darkness I began to hear men’s voices screaming at me telling me to “shut up” – “that I deserved to be there” – “that I was in Hell”. I couldn’t believe it, but as I stood there a radiant beam of light shone through the darkness and immediately began to lift me upward. I found myself being translated up into an incredibly brilliant beam of pure white light – it seemed to be emanating from a circular opening far above me (I felt like a speck of dust being drawn up into a beam of sunlight).
I entered this opening to find myself inside a long narrow passageway or tunnel – at the far end of the tunnel I could see the source of the light – it was so radiant that it looked to be the centre of the universe. As I continued to look towards this light it seemed to draw me towards it at an incredible speed – I wasn’t walking but was being translated along this tunnel towards the source of this light. I watched as a wave of light broke off the source and moved up the tunnel towards me – as it passed through me I could feel a wave of warmth and comfort flood my soul … it was incredible. This light wasn’t just physical, but was giving off a living emotion … Halfway down another wave of light – this time it gave off pure peace – followed by another wave – of pure joy. Coming out of the end of this tunnel I found myself standing in the presence of awesome light and power – it seemed as though even the constellations in the universe must find their energy source from this focal point.
As I stood there I wondered to myself if this was just an energy source in the universe or if perhaps there could be someone standing in the midst of this light!!!!! A voice immediately responded to my thought and asked me “Ian, do you wish to return?” Return, I thought!!! Where am I??? As I looked over my shoulder I could see the tunnel going back into darkness.
I thought – darkness – hospital bed – am I out of my body? – is this real? – am I standing here? – or am I in a coma having some bizarre dream? Am I in my body or out of my body?? (I could cognitively think of the two alternatives.) As I looked back towards the light, it was still there … I responded “I don’t know where I am, but if I am out of my physical body I wish to return.” The voice responded “If you wish to return – you must see in a new light.” “New light”, I thought, “I’m seeing the light.” “Are you the true light???” Words appeared in front of me “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).” I had never read a Bible before in my life so I didn’t know this was straight out of the scriptures. God is light, I thought – that is pure light – I see no darkness here, I have just come from darkness – I see no evil, no shadows – this is pure light – am I standing in the presence of God??? He knows my name and I didn’t tell Him, only God could do that – He knows what I am thinking before I even speak, only God could do that. Then he must be able to see everything I have done wrong in my life … no … I don’t want God to see that. I felt totally exposed and wanted to move away from the light and go back into the darkness where I belonged. I thought someone had made a mistake and brought the wrong person up. As I drew back towards the darkness a wave of light swept through me … I felt pure unadulterated Love flow over me. Love I thought, how could God love me – I’ve taken his name in vain – I’ve slept around – I’m not a good man … but no matter what I said, waves of His unconditional Love continued to flow over me. I found myself weeping uncontrollably in His Presence. It was so amazing that He had totally forgiven me and accepted me as I was.
The waves of Love ceased and I wondered if I could possibly step into the light and see what God looked like. I was so close. … I asked if I could step in. ..???.. I heard no response but thought if God could love me so much, He wouldn’t mind …. As I stepped into the light I found myself disappear into it as it was so radiant – it had the intensity of laser light, yet you could look directly at it. The light seemed to absorb me into it – the centre seemed to be very bright so I aimed for it – I could feel a healing presence coming off this light that was healing my broken heart … it was touching me deep inside my heart of hearts where no one gets to see … so beautiful.
Suddenly it opened up in the centre and standing in front of me was the most awesome sight – I could see a man standing in front of me, but he was not like anyone I’d ever seen before in my life. His garments were shimmering white in colour – garments of light – I could see His bare feet and His hands were outstretched towards me as if to welcome me. I knew I was looking upon God … as I looked toward His face the intensity of the light seemed to increase 7-fold – you couldn’t make out the form of his face as the light was so bright – such purity, such holiness, such beauty. I asked God if I could step closer. I felt I could, I wanted to see His face. Moving closer waves of more Love began to flow towards me, and I felt very safe. Standing, now feet away, from the Lord I tried to see His face – but I didn’t know that no man can see the face of God and live. And so, as I moved my face into the radiance that surrounded His face, He moved – and all His Glory moved with Him. Directly behind Him it opened out into a brand new World – green pastures, a crystal clear stream, rolling green hills to my right, mountains in the distance, blue skies above, to my left fields interspersed with trees and flowers. As I looked at the grass in front of me I could see the same light that was on the presence of God was radiating throughout this entire creation – totally untouched by man – perfect creation. And in my heart I knew I belonged here, that God had created me to live here – I knew I was home.
I was just about to enter in and explore, when God stepped back in front of me, and asked me this question. “Now that you have seen – do you wish to step in or do you wish to return?” I thought, “I don’t want to return. I wish to step in. I have no one to go back for and no one has ever loved me, all they’ve ever done is manipulate me and try to control me … I have no one to go back for, I wish to step in.” But God didn’t move, so I looked back behind me to say “goodbye, cruel world”, and standing behind me in a vision in front of the tunnel was my mother. And as soon as I saw her I knew that there was one person in my life that had shown me love, and that was my mother, and that she had prayed for me every day and tried to show me that this was the way. In my mind I thought, “if I am dead and I did choose to step into heaven, what would my mother think? Would she know I made it or would she think I went to Hell – because she knew I had no Faith? … I realised that it could break her heart and that she would have no reason to believe that God had heard my prayer in the ambulance and forgiven my sins. … I thought, “how can I do that to my mum, it would be so selfish” … and decided I wished to return.
God then spoke to me and said, “If I wished to return – I must see things in a new light.” I understood that to mean that I must begin to see through his eyes of Love, Peace, Joy, Forgiveness, from His Heavenly perspective, not my temporary earthly perspective. Looking back towards the tunnel again I now could see a vision of all my family, and thousands and thousands of other people. I asked God who all these people were, and He told me that if I didn’t return then many of these people would not get a chance to hear about Him….
I told God that I didn’t know most of them and I didn’t love them, but that I loved my mother and wished to return for her. God spoke to me and told me that He loved those people and wanted them all to come to know Him. I asked God how could I possibly return back down the tunnel and back into my hospital bed. He spoke and said “Son, tilt your head, now feel the liquid drain from your eye. Now open your eye and see.” And I was immediately back in my physical body.
Back to earth
As I opened my eye, I was lying back on a hospital bed with my right leg elevated, cupped in the hands of the young Indian doctor who had been trying to save my life. He had a scalpel or some sharp instrument in his hand and he was prodding the base of my foot like a dead piece of meat. He wasn’t aware that I was looking at him. I thought, “what’s that man doing with my foot, what is he doing with that knife!!!!!!” At the same time something seemed to spook the doctor and he quickly turned his head to see my right eye open, looking at him… Terror struck his face and I got the distinct impression that he has just seen a dead man looking at him… My eye wasn’t moving much and I could see the doctor thinking to himself that perhaps he had hit a nerve in my foot and caused the corpse to twitch, and that he had the evil eye looking at him or something. As for me, I was trying to grapple with what I had just seen. … Did I just see God, has He just given my life back??? As I lay there I heard the voice of God say “Son, I have just given you your life back.” I said if that is true God, could you help me to tilt my head to the left and look out of the other eye, as I was getting sick of looking at the doctor’s terrified face. Strength came back into my neck and I opened my left eye to see a whole bunch of nurses and orderlies standing in the doorway looking at me as if the dead had just risen … As my eye locked onto theirs they began to jump backwards out of the doorway. From what I can ascertain I had been dead for a period of some 15 minutes. I prayed to God that night and asked him to heal me and enable me to walk out of the hospital. That night God completely healed me and enabled me to walk out of the hospital the next day.
I asked God what I had become, as I found my entire life was changing for good. God told me I was a Re-Born Christian and that he wanted me to read His Bible. I had never read a Bible and had never heard about being Born-Again. Over the next 6 weeks I read the entire Bible. I have never been the same, and believe that I saw our Lord Jesus Christ in His Glorified form (Rev. 1 : 13 -18)
© Ian McCormack