Our friend Lee died on an operating table when he was 21. He saw a pure white light. He heard God’s voice saying, “Come closer! Come closer!” And he saw three or four doctors below him trying frantically to restart his heart with paddles.
“I went through doors,” he says, 30 years later. “I had a brief glimpse of my mother, sitting in the waiting room.” Then he was looking at a plateau and Jesus was standing to the left of the scene. There was a gate, with people going through it. “I think I saw my grandfather,” he says.
“The streets were like translucent gold. There was an altar with inscriptions along the front and there were words in a big book that was open but I couldn’t read them. They were in Hebrew. The throne of God was in the middle with a river flowing from it.” (He had not yet read Revelation 22:1.) Jesus was at the Father’s right hand.
“I don’t remember everything that happened. A year or two ago more details came back to me. There was a garden with trees and benches, where Jesus walked and talked and sat with me, showing me the scars in His hands. I still don’t remember everything He said.”
Lee’s mother and sister were in the waiting room when a nurse ran out of surgery calling, “Code Blue!”
His mother asked, “What happened?”
The terrified nurse said, “I’m not supposed to tell anyone but someone by the name of [their surname]–we lost ‘im!” She ran back into the operating room.
“Jesus asked me, ‘Do you want to stay or go?'”
“Stay,” he said. But Jesus told him, “No, you’re going back. You have too much left to do in this life.”
“I heard a thousand voices all in sync, like running water,” Lee remembers, “flutes, stringed instruments–a rushing sound, like the sound of birds. Standing there I felt movement, felt myself move, then felt myself going back, weightless.
“All of a sudden I could feel electricity going through me. I felt a heaviness. I woke up in recovery with a nurse slapping my face.”
Later the surgeon came out to the waiting room and told Lee’s family, “Your son’s condition is grave. The next 24 hours will be critical because we had to stop and start the heart.”
The next day the doctor told me, ‘We had some trouble with you.'”
When he got out of the hospital, he drew a picture of what he had seen. He told his parents and inlaws that he had died on the operating table and gone to heaven, that he had spent “hours” with Jesus during those few minutes his heart had flatlined.
His mother and stepfather said, “Don’t talk about it because people will think you’re crazy.”
His father-in-law said, “You didn’t really die!”
So he tried not to talk or think about it for a long, long time.