I write this blog knowing full well that it will likely be used against me. I write it knowing it will make some uncomfortable. I write this blog (over a year after the event) in order for others to know what they face.
I could take the story back to an act of compassion that turned into a battle with a demon, and I may do so at another time. Right now, I want to focus on the short time before I listened to the demon’s lies and tried to take my own life.
I was in pain. I was in physical, emotional, and spiritual pain and I could not get it to stop. I had been betrayed by those who were supposed to help and support me. I had been forced to take retirement, use my savings to move to a new location, and due to a severe back injury while moving was unable to work. So, I listen to the voices in my head that were telling me I was a failure, I was worthless, and had no hope for the future. I even thought that God had abandoned me. So, I took a .45 caliber pistol, put it under my chin and pulled the trigger. I do not remember anything until I felt myself rising above my body in an ambulance. My heart had stopped, and the medics were using the defibrillator paddles to bring me back.
The next thing I remember is being a place where others were waiting for judgment. When it was my turn the demon (likely the same one) tried to claim me. The demon said, “This one tried to take his own life, he belongs to us. Church law says he should go to hell!”
Another, perhaps an angel, said God’s grace trumps church law. This one belongs to God. Then a voice asked me, “Do you want to go back?”
Do I want to go back? As I think back now, I wonder why I was asked that question. Such a question did not fit in with my theology. All I can assume is God was giving me a second chance. I answered yes, yes I want to go back. I have since wondered why I said yes. Coming back into this world meant coming back to all the pain I had before I died plus the handicaps of surviving a traumatic brain injury and several other drastic medical issues related to the wound.
Has my return to this world been painful? Oh yes, even much more than before, but my experience at the crossing had strengthened my faith. I say faith rather than certainty because, as a fallen human being, the only certainty is that I am a sinner prone to self-deception. This is one thing I know I can trust. No matter how bad this life can seem, I know God does love me.
After my after-death experience, the next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital room with a feeding tube and trachea. I had been unconscious for eleven days.
The encounter at the gate of death has given me a deeper understanding of the reality in which we live. It also helps me to continue my struggle with the spiritual entity that has singled me out. However, the greatest gift of grace that I have received from all this is the growing compassion I have for others. I was fortunate in my spiritual encounter with death. Others have not been. I understand, because I have seen, that there will be a time of judgment, and unless one is in God’s grace on is depending.
In the Lord, there is always hope.