A Time to Live Again
An internal conflict that afflicts many returnees has its origins in Paradise.
Most NDErs in Paradise are loath to return to Earth with its pain and stress. Some psychological issues begin right there. Dr George Ritchie 2 expressed his trauma in these words: ‘I regarded my return to this life as a calamity; I would have been angry, if I’d had the strength, with those who laboured to revive me.’
Despite loving her children and her husband Virgil, Crystal McVea 3 had a similar response.
What I do remember clearly – and what lingered for a long time – was how I felt about being back in my human form. To put it mildly, I was pretty ticked off. I simply loved being with God so much and wanted to go back so badly that I came to resent all the people who saved my life. The doctors, the nurses, my mother, even Virgil – anyone who wanted me to come back had, in my mind, prevented me from returning to Heaven. ‘Why did you make me come back?’ I asked them over and over in those first few hours. ‘This was not my choice!’
Sometimes teenagers and younger children wonder why God sent them back. They can feel rejected and obsess over what could be wrong with them. ‘And if their attempts to talk about their experiences are dismissed,’ states Cherie Sutherland 4, ‘the repercussions can be long-lasting.’
A returnee’s ‘extra time’ sometimes means many more years of earthly life, but sometimes it is only a short return. A friend of mine over many years, Vic Moore, died in June 2010 in South Africa. His wife Raewyn 5 wrote to us about something that had occurred several weeks earlier, when the family had been summoned to the hospital.
We arrived expecting the worst, no response from Vic, then about 2pm he woke up. Said he had had a spiritual experience – saw a bright light and flowers and angels and Jesus standing there welcoming him. Jesus said, you have a choice: you can either come with me or go back. Vic chose to come back to us, for which we are truly grateful and absolutely gob-smacked, or as someone said, God-smacked! Isn’t that amazing!!!!! Words can’t describe how we felt. I had always been disparaging about this sort of thing – but now, wow! We know we have been given a precious gift and time to tell Vic what he means to us.
Sadly from our human point of view, that time proved to be short, only a matter of weeks. Nevertheless, his return to Earth helped the family in their grieving. We assume that whatever further purposes were intended for his brief return, they had also been fulfilled.
Scripture tells us that our times are in God’s hands. Nonetheless, some NDErs have argued the point with God. Debbie 1 is typical:
I know it is Jesus. He had a bright light coming from him.
He began walking towards me and he said, ‘You have more work to do. You have to go back.’
‘No. I’m not going back there. I don’t want to go back there.’ And I sat down and argued with him. I told him ‘No’, I was not going back there.
He said, ‘Yes, you have to go back. You have a lot to do. You have to go back.’
I stood up and I looked at him, and he just slipped me back into my body.
While still in hospital, Debbie discovered one good reason Jesus had insisted that she return – she was pregnant! More than her own life had hung in the balance. ‘I was absolutely shocked! I had no idea!’ Once again, we see how God’s timing is perfect – and how there is a right time to live, and a right time to die. Despite certain medical traumas that followed for Debbie, the baby was perfect and today is a lovely, healthy child.
Guiding the Choice
For some NDErs, the return is automatic without preceding discussion – they simply wake up in the hospital ward or wherever, without prior warning.
In other cases an offer is made – would you like to return to Earth? In these cases, God seems to encourage NDErs to make the choice. The commonest reasons given are that their time has not yet come, and furthermore, there is more for them to achieve on Earth. I have read or heard these reasons hundreds of times. Love of family and responsibility towards them can also be held out to the NDEr as a reason to choose to return.
The experience of Lisa 1 illustrates this process in depth. Lisa was shown her Life Review guided by three angelic beings. Suddenly the scene shifted from the past to future possibilities, dependent on her choices. ‘Then I was shown my funeral (a potential future event). I wasn’t upset watching my funeral, my kids were not upset; being 3 years old and 6 years old at the time, they didn’t really understand what was going on. But then I saw my mother, who was a wreck and had no control. I didn’t think she really loved me as much as I saw at my funeral.’ Did God allow this glimpse of a theoretical future funeral to improve an ongoing relationship with her mother on her return? That particular funeral scene cannot occur now, as her children are older – so it must have been a ‘possibility scenario’ only, an alternative that ‘collapsed’ as she chose to return to Earth to care for them. Similar visions of possibilities are relatively common during NDEs, and it can be very difficult to distinguish between potential and actuality.
Perhaps because a glimpse of how things would be at her funeral did not in itself convince Lisa to return to her body at that moment (she was enjoying Paradise too much), a further glimpse into a possible future scene was shown to her:
Then the three spirit guides, who were angels, showed me my future, and the future of my children. They showed me a hallway and door on the left and a beautiful room fit for a princess. I thought ‘that’s fine, my children will be well cared for, I don’t have anything to worry about’, but they said ‘Oh no, your children are over here.’ I saw on the other side of the hallway another door, that there was nothing in the room except my two children and stained, filthy underwear. No toys, no dresser.
Oh no! I am going back to raise my kids!
I did not see my body; I just slammed into it.
It was my decision, my will, to live. I had a choice I guess.
Lisa had always been a mother hen fighting for her chicks. Her protective nature influenced her to return. She is another of the ‘lucky few’ in that her return was accompanied by a physical miracle – she had been told that she would not last the night without a liver transplant because her damaged liver was pumping toxins into her body; this toxicity ceased on her return and her liver rejuvenated itself.
Her mother concludes: ‘Lisa is probably a better mother now, knowing how close she came to leaving them (her children).’
It is not only mothers who choose to return of their own volition.
Ian McCormack 6 was given the choice too.
God stepped back in front of me, and asked me this question. ‘Now that you have seen (Paradise) – do you wish to step in or do you wish to return?’
I thought, ‘I don’t want to return. I wish to step in. I have no one to go back for and no one has ever loved me, all they’ve ever done is manipulate me and try to control me…’
But God didn’t move, so I looked back behind me to say ‘goodbye, cruel world’, and standing behind me in a vision in front of the tunnel was my mother!
And as soon as I saw her, I knew that there was one person in my life who had shown me love, and that was my mother, and that she had prayed for me every day and tried to show me that this was the way!
In my mind I thought, ‘If I am dead and I did choose to step into Heaven, what would my mother think? Would she know I made it or would she think I went to Hell – because she knew I had no faith?’ I realized that it could break her heart and that she would have no reason to believe that God had heard my prayer in the ambulance and forgiven my sins. I thought, ‘How can I do that to my mum, it would be so selfish’… and decided I wished to return.
God then spoke to me and said that if I wished to return – I must see things in a new light.
I understood that to mean that I must begin to see through his eyes of Love, Peace, Joy, Forgiveness – from His heavenly perspective, not my temporary earthly perspective.
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