Simon was 54, a successful American professor with no need for God, a confident atheist.
He was in his hotel room in London preparing for his flight back home when he was troubled by a stomach ache. Nothing unusual.
But the stomach ache quickly became agony and he was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation.
Then his world began to crumble. A young doctor told him no surgeons were available until next morning.
He was so happy with his wonderful career and his loving wife sitting by his bed but how could his atheism help him now?
He thought of his Christian childhood. He had abandoned his faith and become wise but what if it was all true? What if there really was a heaven and a hell? What would happen to him now?
He felt that his time had come. He lovingly said goodbye to his dear wife of thirty years, closed his eyes and fell unconscious.
But that was not the end after all.He was outside his body next to his wife. This didn’t make sense to his rational mind at all. He had no more pain. He see and hear and think clearly but no one could see or hear him.
Then the voices called him to another place. He saw people in uniforms and he thought they were medical staff calling him.
When he followed them, he found himself in a dark unknown space. The men and women in uniform became evil beings, tormenting him ceaselessly.
He was helpless.
In despair he cried out to the God of his childhood faith. Even though he still doubted, he had no other escape.
Every time he shouted “God” the evil spirits retreated in dismay.
Finally he lay alone, wounded and in pain, though not the pain from his sick body.
He was no more the strong atheist, no longer the proud intellectual.He saw his selfish character and he was ashamed of the way he had lived only for himself and treated other people so badly.
Then he saw himself in a vision, a boy singing happily in church.
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
The vision faded and he began calling out to Jesus to save him. He was still full of doubt but who else could save him?
He began so see a light, which came closer and became brighter until he was engulfed by the loving presence of Jesus.
God never forgets the love and trust of his children. Jesus is the good shepherd to goes out to rescue his lost sheep who have wandered away.
Simon’s parents took him to church. No doubt his mother prayed for him and God did not forget her prayers.
Never stop praying and believing for your lost children, you brothers and sisters or your parents.
I prayed for my parents for many years before they believed in old age as death was knocking on their door.
Simon saw three angels who had been guarding him all though his life. Simon had left God but God had not abandoned him.
Simon longed to stay with Jesus and the angels but Jesus lovingly sent him back to his beloved wife and children.
God had plans for Simon’s new life on this planet, a different life, a life of faith and fulfilment, loving God and helping other people.
When Simon opened his eyes, a surgeon was massaging his heart.
When you have a real encounter with the Son of God, you can never be the same again.
For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40 (NIV)
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29 (NIV)
You can encounter Jesus even if you don’t see Him. It is a choice.
Will you cry out to Jesus as Simon did? Jesus will not let you down.
This blog post is a summary of a chapter in a book by Gabriel Toscani, which I read in German. If anyone can find an English edition. Please let me know.
Toscani, Gabriel. Und dann war Licht: 35 Menschen, die alle klinisch tot waren, erzählen, was sie "auf der anderen Seite" gesehen und erlebt haben. Einige waren im Paradies, andere in der Hölle. Kindle Edition.
“And then there was Light: 35 people who were all clinically dead, tell us what they saw and experienced “on the other side.” Some were in Paradise and others in Hell.”