by Mike White
As a teenager I had a serious accident that nearly killed me - this is my personal account of a near death experience and how it radically impacted my life.
The pushbike rapidly gathered momentum as I pedalled hard down the steep hill. I could feel the December sun warm on my back and hear the wind whistling through my hair - it was good to be alive.
My enthusiasm for risk and speed gave me an adrenalin kick - but was about to be my fatal tango with death.
My pushbike was a fixed wheel racer, just one gear with no free spin, and the pedals just kept coming around as the bike moved forward. As I leaned further into the corner to navigate the left hand turn at the bottom of the hill I could feel the wheels start to slide out on the loose gravel and then the pedals came around to lift the back wheel clean off the road! I had totally lost control of the bike!!
The bike leapt from the road, crashing out of control, and buckled into a mangled heap of twisted metal.
At the same time, I as a helpless passenger was launched from the seat and hurtled through the air, smashing face first into the concrete kerb. I was knocked out cold and lay on the road in a pool of blood totally unconscious. The lady in the nearby house seeing the accident happen ran screaming from her verandah to try and help. She lifted my limp hand but could not feel any pulse. The ambulance was called and I was rushed off to the hospital.
I lay in a coma in the hospital bed for the next 5 days.
I don't remember hitting the kerb. Instead I was standing in a place out of this world on the side of a gently sloping hill.
The grass lay flat on the undulating hill as if it had been wind swept over many years. I realised that I was not alone. Beside me stood someone dressed in brilliant white. The sky was totally dark behind me and to either side - but there was a light in front - over the top of the hill - a clean white light like the rising of the early morning sun. The person beside me, perhaps an angel or perhaps the Son of God, took me by the hand and we slowly walked up the hill together. And as we did the light shining beyond the top of the hill became brighter and brighter.
The next moment I was looking over various scenes of my life - past, present and future.
I saw my life replayed before me like I was watching a three dimensional movie - a live drama. Each scene I saw in detail exactly how it happened as I seemed to flick right through my life story right up to my present age of fifteen. Each scene was real with plenty of time to reflect, yet it all seemed to take no time at all. I felt very exposed watching all this, yet the one in white standing next to me did not appear to judge me - rather I seemed to judge myself.
Then I had a glimpse into the future. I saw myself standing on a stage in front of many people.
Beyond the spotlight that shone out of the darkness I could make out a sea of faces eagerly looking up towards the stage. The host motioned for me to step towards the microphone and as I moved forward I began to speak the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Jesus loves you with an everlasting love. He loves you so much that he died in your place to free you from sin so you can experience new life in him. And then there were hands, many hands, being raised in response to the Gospel - to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
As these scenes flashed before me I realised that we had reached the top of the hill, poised on the edge of a chasm.
Standing on the edge and looking out over the panoramic scene before me I could see a city in the distance. It was sparkling in the sun as though it was made of glass like something you would read about in a fairytale story. I was being asked by the person in white if I wanted to enter into heaven - the holy city. If I saw it I could never return to the earth or my family. Or did I want to go back into my physical body on earth.
I was a Christian, having given my heart to the Lord at a young age of 10. I loved God but was mostly afraid to tell my friends at school, and also pretty regular at going to church but that alone doesn't count for much. I would love to stay here in this wonderful place. But now I could see a glimpse of my family crying and praying for me. Not that I could earn my way to heaven, but rather I realised that my life on earth would be more fruitful if I chose to allow God's will to unfold in my life. My heart was divided. I wanted to stay here and enter into heaven, but I also sensed that God had a plan for me to be a part of. Maybe I should return to earth.
Yes. I will go back. I had made the decision. I know I was shown more than this, yet the words kept ringing in my ears "you will not remember the things you have seen, you will not remember the things you have seen...." It was like coming out of a fog, a deep sleep, and all the time I was trying to hold onto the many scenes as I could, but felt them slipping, slipping, slipping....
I could feel the clean sheets against my legs. There was a peace in the hospital room as I came out of the coma, and it is reported that I was humming the tune "To God be the glory great things he has done". After about a week they let me look in the mirror. I didn't recognise myself - I stared back at the monster in the mirror with bloodshot eyes, two teeth snapped in half, and a layer of crusty peeling flesh all over face and body from sliding in the gravel. What a sight! What an encounter! An experience I thought no-one would believe, but God had impacted my life - for eternity.
Fourteen years later I was in Madras in India on a missionary trip.
As I stood on the back of an oxen cart in one of the small villages and stepped up to the microphone to share the gospel message, I suddenly realised I had been here before. The light shone out of the darkness, the pastor gave an invitation to the audience and and thirty to forty Indians raised their hands in response and asked Jesus into their hearts.
God is outside time. He created time and space, the world and the universe, and has a plan for each one of us. Are you ready for the journey?