Lying there on
the bed one morning, I realized the pain had left my body. I wasn't
thinking of anything, just looking up toward the ceiling, when I felt
something strange happen. It felt like I was lifted out of my body, and I
went right to the upper corner of the room, where I'd been looking.
Then I moved backward, going through the
wall. Immediately I found myself up to my neck in a black river, black as black
could be, and very cold. My physical pain, absent moments before, had returned.
The water was whirling around me.
In my mind I
asked, "Where am I?"
I heard a loud, loving voice say, "This
is eternity. This is eternity. You are lost!"
It echoed, "You are lost!"
The strong voice
came from behind me, so I didn't see who it was, but I knew it was God's
this?" I again asked in my mind.
"This is the river of death."
echoed, "This is the river of death."
I didn't know
what "being lost" or what a "river of death" was all
about. Jesus as savior was unknown to me at this time. When I was three or
four years old, I had started going to Sunday school with my sister and
brother. I liked going to the children's activities, but we didn't learn
anything like salvation. And I hadn't been to church since I was young.
I had terrible
fear when I was enveloped by that black water; I can't swim. When I saw
all that water, I knew I was dying. And when this voice told me I was lost
and this was eternity, then I knew God was revealing to me my lost
condition. I started swirling around in this water, which became like a
whirlpool. It kept on going around and around, faster and faster and
faster, dragging me under. I was fighting to save my life. In pain,
misery, and fear, I kept sinking down into this water. When I got down to
the bottom, I couldn't fight anymore. Completely exhausted, I gave up.
Then I saw light
enter the water around me. The water turned warm. I looked up at the light
and saw Jesus about four feet above me in an opening over my head.
Everything else was black, but he was brilliant! The light coming from him
was beyond description. His hair was an auburn color and wavy. He looked
down at me. He had such beautiful eyes. I'll never forget those eyes. They
were so large and full of meaning - and kindness and forgiveness and
compassion. Everything you would want to see in Jesus' face was there.
I had to know I
was lost before I could be saved. He had such a compassionate face. I'll
never forget that. Yet Jesus was not smiling, but sad. His eyes were so
When looking at
his pale ivory robe, I saw a big blotch of red on his chest and wondered
what it meant. I couldn't see what it was and was curious to figure it
out. It was just a big blotch.
Instantly a voice spoke. Though I hadn't
asked, he knew what I wanted to know!
He said, "This is the blood that I shed
on the cross for your sins."
I understood his
meaning: I knew I was in the wrong as the blood was explained to me.
Then Jesus said,
I said, "I
The minute I
said, "I will," the water was gone.
He had put his
right hand down in the water, and when he said, "Follow me."
All the darkness
was gone out of my life, gone completely! A brilliance, but it wasn't
sunshine, came from Jesus. A transparent gold light came from him, from
When I reached
up with my left hand and took hold of his warm hand, I instantly felt the
power of God come through my body. I had never heard of the power of God.
Later I would use words from a hymn to describe the feeling of God's
power. It was like "sparks from smitten steel" coming right
through my body from my head to my toes again and again. I grew stronger
and stronger as the power went through me!
thought, "I'm well. I have no more pain. This is real! This is
When I said,
"It's real," I looked up to Jesus.
All he had said
was, "Follow me."
That's all he
would have to say to anybody!
Both of us
seemed to float toward a wall. We stopped perhaps fifteen feet away from
the wall. I was still holding his hand, and I followed his gaze. He was
looking straight ahead. I looked up and saw a transparent wall, shining
like pure gold, as far as I could see in either direction. I could see
into it, eight inches or more, but not all the way through. Oh, I wanted
to see behind that wall.
From behind the
wall I heard much activity. Everything was alive behind that wall. It
seemed like the dawn of a new day; day was just breaking! It was a
beautiful experience. I heard little birds singing, tiny birds, and they
got louder and louder. People have said there are no birds in heaven, but
I heard them.
Then I heard
what seemed like millions of little golden bells ringing, tinkling; they
rang and rang. Many times since, I've heard those bells in the middle of
the night. (And it's not high blood pressure doing that!) Next I
heard humming and then a choir singing. The singing got louder and louder,
and it was in a minor key. It was beautiful and in perfect harmony. I also
heard stringed instruments.
I knew there
were flowers. I could smell them but couldn't see them. Their fragrance
was like perfume on a gentle breeze - a very gentle breeze.
Then because the
light was so brilliant, it seemed to be getting around noontime. I stepped
forward to search for a gate but didn't see any. It just wasn't time for
me to go in there yet.
I turned around
to look at Jesus, but he was gone. I didn't see him go or hear him go. He
was just gone! Then in an instant or so, I felt myself in my body
and back in bed.
I never wanted to come back here, I
thought. I was looking for the gates to heaven.