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 “Invisibles”. 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 wheelchair 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).
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.
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.
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.
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