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.
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.