There is no mystery greater than what lies beyond death. We have no way of knowing what happens when life ends, and those who fully pass beyond its doors do not return.
But there are those who have, through great tragedy and pain, had a glimpse of what lies beyond. These are the people who have been as close to clinical death as possible, and have been revived. And when they returned, they brought back word of what they saw.
There’s incredible comfort in this—the reassurance that life doesn’t end after death, that there might be something more, is heartening. It’s wonderful to be reminded that our departed loved ones are waiting for us, and that behind it all, there’s a good and all-loving God just waiting to embrace us.
And for those who are on the fence concerning faith, personal narratives of near-death experiences can be a push in the right direction. These experiences tend to be remarkably consistent in their details—too consistent for even the staunchest materialist to ignore.
We all, at times, need that kind of boost to our faith. Most of us walk through life without ever seeing a hint of the supernatural, and so to hear stories of encounters with God, His angels, and the afterlife in general can be just the faith pick-me-up we need.
If you’re in need of this, read on—we’re about to look at 5 near-death experiences that will reaffirm your faith and leave you feeling spiritually refreshed.
The Miracle on Hammertown Road
Jim Bay had a habit of going on walks each night after a hard day’s work as a landscaper. On the night of November 15th of 2009, however, he fell 14 feet, head-first, into a ravine. Although he was able to make it back up to the road, he was badly injured—he had broken 23 bones, including his skull.
But as he lay by the road, dying, a light appeared to him. It was bright—blindingly so, and yet there was a “softness” to it. It felt “comforting, a though the light were somehow holding me in its arms.”
According to his book, “Miracle on Hammertown Road,” it was the most beautiful thing Jim had ever seen.
But then from that light stepped a figure—God. Jim’s pain ebbed away. His breathing became easier. Thinking that God had come to take him to Heaven, Jim felt a disappointment that he would have to leave his family.
God reassured him, though, that “it was not my time.”
Jim had never been a practicing Christian, and although he believed in a God, he doubted the Bible and those who had killed in its name.
God gently corrected him, saying that “those in power interpret His words for their own benefit.”
With the gentle command to tell others of his experience, God departed, leaving Jim alone with his pain and his wounds, but with the reassurance that he would live on.
Jim made it to safety that night, and after many surgeries, recovered, and now uses his experience to give to others the hope and light he, himself, was given during his brush with death.
A Pastor Meets His God
On January 18th, 1989, Don Piper, a Baptist minister, was struck head-on by a semi-trailer truck while driving home from a conference in Texas. He was crushed, impaled by his steering wheel, his body broken by the impact.
When paramedics arrived, they found no signs of life, and thought him dead, covering him with a tarp as another pastor prayed over him.
But according to Piper, he ascended to Heaven, where he spent the next 90 minutes of his life as he was prayed over.
Instantly, he found himself surrounded by deceased relatives and friends, looking up at the magnificent gate of heaven that “had been sculpted from mother-of-pearl.” Behind that gate was a light that Piper describes as something that cannot be seen in an earthly body.
For Piper, it was the most glorious experience of his life.
After those 90 minutes passed, Piper found himself back in his body, staring up at the tarp that covered him. He would go on to endure 13 excruciating months of hospitalization, 34 surgeries, and years of therapy and rehabilitation. One thing he could never shake, though, was an intense yearning to return to heaven.
He now speaks to audiences around the world about his experience, which he compiled into his bestselling book, “90 Minutes in Heaven.” He uses the income from his book, as well as from his speaking engagements to fund over 40 ministry projects around the world.
A Neurosurgeon in Heaven
Dr. Eben Alexander hails from a distinguished family of scholars, and received his M.D. from the Duke University School of Medicine in 1981, going on to have appointments at several distinguished hospitals. For years, he had dismissed the evidence brought back by those who had died and been revived, dismissing such tales as explainable through knowledge of the human brain.
But in 2008, Dr. Alexander contracted bacterial meningitis, which left him in a coma.
During the week in which he was unconscious, his brain activity, he says, was essentially zero. There were no electrons firing randomly. Hallucinations were not possible. All was dark, scientifically speaking.
Despite this, Dr. Alexander went on a journey that changed his life—something he could not explain, even with his advanced medical training.
His experience is starkly different from many other near-death experiences—he was reborn from a primitive muck and guided by a beautiful girl with blue eyes to an “immense void” that was both “pitch black” and “brimming with light” stemming from an orb that translates for a loving God.
His entire journey is detailed in his book, “Proof of Heaven,” which became a bestseller upon publication. Within, Dr. Alexander makes the case for the soul from a scientific point-of-view, arguing that because his brain had no electrical activity during his coma, what he experienced must change the way we look at consciousness and what awaits us after death.
An Atheist Professor is Saved by Christ
Before his near-death experience, Dr. Howard Storm was a Professor of Art at Northern Kentucky University. He was also a staunch atheist, and, by his own admission, a hostile fellow who used his rage as a weapon of control on those around him.
Above all, he was certain—certain that anything which could not be measured in the physical world did not exist.
But all of this was changed by his experience.
At the age of 38, Dr. Storm underwent a life-changing event. In June of 1985, he took a group of students on a trip to Europe, but upon returning to his Paris hotel room, he experienced the sudden onset of severe abdominal pain.
He was taken to a hospital and diagnosed with a duodenal perforation which required surgery, but no surgeon was available until the next day.
As he waited, the pain became so intense that Storm knew he was going to die, and eventually passed out.
During this period of unconsciousness, he found himself standing outside of his body. Drawn by voices calling to him, he left the hospital room, and was faced with a number of pale, humanoid creatures that began to attack and humiliate him, driving him down a long, dark hallway.
After hearing a soft voice tell him to “Pray to God,” he recited some fragmented Bible verses. The creatures retreated, and out of fear, he called out for Christ to save him. Jesus personally appeared to Dr. Storm, saving him from the demons and sending him back to his body.
The experience shook Dr. Storm to his core, and the former atheist went on to enter seminary, and was ordained, serving as pastor of Zion United Church of Christ in Norwood, Ohio for over a decade. He wrote a book about his experiences entitled, “My Descent Into Death.”
Angels in the Water
Dr. Mary Neal is an orthopedic surgeon and author of the bestselling book, “To Heaven and Back,” which chronicles the brush with death that left her with an unshakable faith.
While kayaking in southern Chile, Dr. Neal went over a small waterfall, something well-within her experienced skillset. When she reached the bottom, she was pushed down by the tremendous ferocity of the waterfall, and became stuck about eight feet below the surface.
The volume of water which thundered down from above held her in place, and no matter what she tried, she couldn’t work herself free.
Still, as a spine surgeon accustomed to stress, she stayed relatively calm, and simply asked that “God’s will be done,” according to an interview with Christianity Today.
In that moment, she was overtaken by a sense of comfort and reassurance, saying that “I believe Christ was holding me.” She went on to describe being greeted by a group of benign spirits who were overjoyed to see her, who welcomed and protected her.
Dr. Neal was ready to go across the threshold of death, toward the all-powerful love of God she could feel on the other side, but it simply wasn’t her time, and the spirits told her so.
She awoke to someone giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and to a number of broken bones and torn ligaments. The entire way home, however, she felt no pain.
This experience remains with Dr. Neal to this day, and served to bring faith, which was only nominal before, to the forefront of her life—she never forgot that intense feeling of being unconditionally loved that radiated from those in Heaven.
A Reaffirming Experience
The thing about near-death experiences is that they’re not just for those who experience them—they’re nearly always meant as a reminder of the spiritual truths we often forget in our mundane day-to-day lives.
So if you’re interested in more information, try a few of the books by these people who have come close to death and made it back. They were allowed to do so for a reason, and that reason is to reaffirm your faith.
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