Sunday, August 30, 2009

90 Minutes in Heaven

I just finished reading a book by Don Piper, 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life. I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to these topics, but it sparked my interest. Here's a few things I took from his story...

1. God is still in the business of doing miracles. This man was in a terrible car accident and pronounced to have died instantly. He had no pulse. The emergency personnel were in no rush to even get him out of the car. 90 minutes later, after a pastor prayed for him (yes, the pastor felt led to pray for a dead man), he revived.

2. Could this be a glimpse of heaven? Don remembers going to heaven during the time he was dead. His account is pretty cool to read. He describes complete joy and peace..."I wasn't conscious of anything I'd left behind and felt no regrets about leaving family or possessions. It was as if God had removed anything negative or worrisome from my consciousness, and I could only rejoice at being together with these wonderful people. They looked exactly as I once knew them - although they were more radiant and joyful than they'd ever been on earth". Won't that be amazing?

3. His experience was used to touch many lives. Even though he lived, Don had a very difficult and painful recovery. I skimmed through some of the details, but read enough to understand his ordeal. He wondered why he had lived and longed to return to heaven. But he realized that God had a plan. In the book he shares many stories of ways he was able to encourage others...both through his memories of heaven and through his painful recovery. We may at times wonder why bad things happen to us, and these accounts demonstrate that when we stop looking at ourselves in self-pity, our eyes can be opened to the ways God can use our experiences to help others.

I like the way the book was concluded, and will close this post with Don's words:

"I find comfort in a story recorded in John's Gospel. A man born blind meets Jesus and is healed. After that, he runs around praising God, but his healing is an embarrassment to the religious leaders who have been trying to turn the people against Jesus. They interrogate the formerly blind man, trying to force him to admit that Jesus is a sinner (that is, a fraud). The man wisely says "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" (John 9:25)

In the same way, some may not believe my account; they may think it was some kind of wish fulfillment during a point of severe trauma. I don't have to defend my experience. I know what happened to me. For those of us whose faith is in the reality of heaven, no amount of evidence is necessary. I know what I experienced. I believe God gave me a hint of what eternity in heaven will be like...

I am here, I am alive, and it's because God's purposes have not yet been fulfilled in my life. When God is finished with me, I'll return to the place I yearn to be. I have made my final reservations for heaven and I'm going back someday - permanently. Prayerfully, I'll see you there too."

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