Recently, a friend and I were talking our way along trails through old growth forest—just as we have every Tuesday for months now. This day, our topics ranged far and wide, landing on recent events, people, and ideas profoundly affecting us, but over which we have little, if any, influence.
This particular Tuesday, despite the layer of leaves and fir needles beneath our feet, uncertainty made us feel as if we were walking on air.
And not in a good way.
More as if the ground we’ve counted on was collapsing beneath us.
But when she asked me if I’d read engineer-turned-pastor John Burke’s Imagine Heaven, our conversation changed course. Somewhere in my brain, sun broke through. My gaze shifted from what won’t last, to what will.
She sent me a link later that day, and I soon had the book in my hands.
Subtitled Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You, the book has close to 5,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. I am enthusiastically adding mine to that number.
I imagine you’ve heard of near-death experiences (NDEs). Accounts of people who died, temporarily left their bodies, and then revived, are part of common lore everywhere. People who hear those stories respond with reactions ranging from outright dismissal, to systematic study, to embrace. I have always landed somewhere between the poles, viewing NDEs with vaguely hopeful curiosity.
Now I’ve learned what’s been happening right under our noses. According to the International Association for Near-death Studies, as many as fifteen percent of all people have had a near-death experience. That means that literally millions have caught personal glimpses of their options when this life is over. They have seen the landscapes, have met people and beings at otherworldly locales.
Have been prompted to choose where they’ll live after they die.
Because, those who have experienced NDEs will tell you, when this life ends, personal existence doesn’t.
The author lays it all out:
First, he recounts gripping near-death experiences of credible people—with nothing to gain (and much to lose) from telling their stories.
Second, he points out similarities between NDEs. Regardless of upbringing, age, nationality, education, or anything that can make people different from one another, their NDEs were uncannily alike. Horrors bore striking resemblances. Ecstasies shared wondrous features. The same locations and pathways appeared in story after story.
As did God.
Third, once he peeled away NDE participants’ interpretations of their experiences, the author compared their descriptions to scriptural accounts of heaven and of life after death—and saw profound corroboration with the Christian Bible, even though many telling their stories were of other faiths.
Remarkable. And either encouraging . . . or food for thought.
If you’ve ever wondered what happens next, read this book. And if you haven’t, you may want to read it anyway.
Pics and videos this week: here you go!
(Bertranda Creek, WA)
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.”
Won’t be long now.
“Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer . . . “
A peck on the cheek.
“And God said . . . let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”
Thanks for imagining with me, friends. I’m glad you’re here.
Watching Nature, Seeing Life: Through His Creation, God Speaks