I dearly love this saying: "It isn’t of great concern…a child who fears the dark. But this is tragic…an adult who fears The Light!" I can assure you…The Light is nothing to fear.
September 21, 2011, started out like most mornings. Even though I had been having some chest pains off and on over the past several days, the previous thirty-six hours had been pain free. Yet, getting up that Wednesday morning, I somehow knew the pain was going to return.
I went outside a little before seven to do my chores. By the time I finished, the pain was the worst it had ever been. My chest felt like it would explode. Approaching a tractor, I leaned on it, my vision beginning to blur.
I suddenly realized that death was very near, and it frightened me. However, the fear quickly left as I became aware of a caring Light that enveloped me. It was paper-thin, but enough to keep the utter, unbelievable, coal black darkness away from me. I was not seeing any colors, only white and black. I didn’t see Him, yet I knew with all certainty it was Jesus who asked me if I wanted to live. Immediately, I answered, “Yes.”
There were many things that began to happen. The light pushed hard against the endless darkness, moving it back several feet. Until then, I had felt I was suffocating because the blackness was so heavy and seemed so determined. I thought about lying down but knew for certain if I voluntarily lay down, I would surely die. I decided to try to make it to the car, about eighty feet away.
Without realizing it, I began my journey through ‘The Valley of the Shadow of Death.’ During this walk and for a short time afterward, I have no memory of the relentless pain in my chest.
When I began to walk, the sinister darkness attacked the Light, battering against it constantly. As the protecting Light was pushed in at various spots, it repelled the single-minded darkness every time and maintained its posture. Walking on, this action continued and now occurred at a faster pace than when it began.
Many times, the harsh darkness formed a cone, ramming into the light, attempting to penetrate it. I reasoned from the beginning of this battle, if there were even a hole smaller than the size of a tiny pin in the serene light, the ruthless darkness would get through and I would be engulfed in complete blackness.
Suddenly, I heard a voice asking. “What if you fall down?” There is no doubt in my mind; Satan himself had asked this question.
Without any misgivings, I quickly and confidently answered. “If I can’t help it, I needn’t be worried.” The constant, persistent, ramming, and repelling was even faster now. I ignored the possibility of involuntarily falling as I continued to walk, not fearing what might happen should I fall.
Reaching the car, I leaned against it. The raging battle began to subside, and then stopped altogether. Jesus inquired once again. “Do you want to live?”
My mind said, “Yes,” but I really didn’t give an answer, being certain my response needed to be delayed. I now saw a door. An image behind it was obscure, as through a glass but nonetheless there…Jesus Himself! I realized I was in a very unique room. This rectangular room was not large but had a ceiling, hardwood floor, and walls. The door Jesus stood behind was at one end. The other end was completely open to the world I knew. Gazing at it, I even saw colors.
Having no desire to go to that familiar world, this one-of-a-kind room quickly drew my focus back to itself. I was awestruck, at great peace, very content and felt totally secure in this extraordinary room full of wondrous light. The soothing light was comforting beyond description. Somehow, I could see the darkness confined outside the two walls and ceiling. This matchless room had no roof.
I became sure that if I chose to die Jesus would be a bit disappointed in me, yet I would still be welcomed into heaven. It made me realize God must still have something for me to do in the world! The moment was now upon me to respond to the all-important question Jesus had asked. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, I discerned the answer I needed to give Jesus was not a simple “yes” or “no,” but involved a great deal more. Was my faith and relationship I professed with my Savior a facade or was it real? Without any concern about the outcome, it was with complete sincerity, release, trust, and peace I answered His question saying, “You decide. It’s up to You.”
Instantly, the darkness cowered away in retreat to a point I could no longer see it, replaced with that marvelous, all-encompassing light. Next, the door, image and room were gone as life began to become normal again, except for the Herculean pain again deep in my chest.
I managed to get the car in front of the yard, made my way into my house, and in a few minutes taken to our local hospital by members of my family.
I will always remember the peace that continued to dwell deep within me on arrival at our local emergency room. I never felt any uncertainty that God would see me thorough whatever lay ahead. Since our small rural hospital isn’t equipped to handle a major heart attack victim, a Flight for Life helicopter took me to a hospital in Colorado Springs.
Given the way our medical system works, I should have been taken to a hospital in Pueblo. Was it oversight? I’m sure it wasn’t. It was unbelievable how every event of that day fell into place like a well-fitting puzzle. Only God could have orchestrated it. Later that same day, I had triple bypass surgery and spent six days in the hospital.
Am I bitter because I had to endure the pain, trauma, expense, and inconvenience that accompany heart surgery? Not in the least. God allowed me to encounter Him in an unprecedented way and took me on a spiritual adventure I wouldn’t trade for the entire universe!