On a summer day while my father was on vacation, he announced that he was going to go fishing in the Brazos River. I begged to go along so I could play in the water while he fished. I had four neighborhood friends and asked if they could go with us. We all piled into the car and dad drove us to the river.
Upon arriving at the river, we moved 30 or 40 yards away from where dad was fishing and ran into the water. After playing in the water for about an hour, my dad announced that he was going to move upstream, and told us to go with him. We began wading upstream as he walked along the bank. Out of the five boys, only one friend of mine and I didn’t know how to swim. As we were wading upstream, I was following about 10 yards behind everyone else. Suddenly I stepped into a hole and went under. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to get a breath of air before going under.
I started fighting to get up to the surface, and was swallowing water. When I broke through the surface, I began spitting out water, but didn't get a breath of air before going under again. I again struggled to the surface and started spitting water, but went under again before getting a breath of air. This struggle repeated several times, and I was getting desperate for air. I was also getting very tired from the struggle. As I struggled in the water, I became very angry at myself because I could not make myself take the necessary breaths of air during the many short times I was above water. Finally I became so doggedly tired that I quit struggling and gave up.
Immediately everything went into slow motion, and my movements seemed to be so agonizingly slow, just as we see on TV or in movies. I became aware of my arms and legs moving at an agonizingly slow pace to the point of being insignificantly effective. At this point I was aware of rising up out of my body. I looked at my body as it was struggling, and I was unconcerned about being in two places at the same time. Actually I wasn't in two places. I was up here, and my body was down there. I was looking at my body as it struggled in the water, but I was up here and didn't feel any struggle or water on me at all. I then began rising further and when I rose to about 10 feet above the water I stopped and sort of hovered there. I was amazed that I was here above the water, and also that I was no longer in pain from struggling and swallowing too much water, nor was I exhausted from the previous struggle below.
As I pondered my situation, I became aware of a sphere of light about 20 feet away. It was suspended at my height and was very, very bright. It was about the size of a basketball and the light seemed to swirl around within its confines, similar to smoke swirling in air, yet it emitted very bright rays of light.
Suddenly, in the very center of the light, I saw a small pure black speck. For some reason, I was intensely concentrating on that speck. As I stared at it, it moved toward me and zoomed out bigger until it was the same size as I was, and Jesus appeared from it and stood before me. I immediately raised my hands as if to shield myself from Him, and told Him to get away from me.
He was a pure, holy being, and I was not worthy of being in His presence. I was a mere mortal person and contaminated with the sinful nature of this physical world. He extended his hand toward me, and my sense of guilt or unworthiness evaporated. He stood before me in all his majestic glory. He appeared to have a rich golden complexion and he radiated golden light in every direction. Light travels at slightly more than 186,000 miles per second and we cannot see its' speed with our physical eyes, but I could see this glorious light radiating outward from him in all its majestic glory. My grasp of the English language cannot do justice to the beautiful radiance that emanated from him. Not only could I see this light, but I seemed to receive spiritual energy from it. This light that carried Jesus' love, wisdom, and grace, radiated outward in every direction, and seemed to penetrate my soul. I looked down at my body, and I was as purely white as the freshly driven snow. He stood before me with his long hair and beard, and wore the clothes that we see in paintings and drawings of him, those worn in his time here on earth 2000 years ago.
Although I don't remember the exact words, he spoke to me. He in effect said, "Fear not. Be at peace." His voice was moderately loud and very melodious. I have been very hard of hearing since infant-hood, and have always struggled with hearing and speech. I struggled to attend school and pass my classes. My poor hearing affected my association with teachers and classmates, and I barely passed my exams and advancement to the next grade levels. But, when Jesus spoke to me, I heard him very succinctly and clearly. His voice was very melodious and sounded like music to my ears.When He spoke to me, his lips did not move. When I spoke to him, my lips did not move. It's like we spoke through Extra Sensory Perception (ESP). Another strange experience was when I wanted to speak to him. As soon as I thought of what I wanted to say, he heard me before I could even speak out to him. It was as if he was reading my mind. All of our communicating was done in this manner.
At this point a large gigantic screen appeared before us. This screen was so large that I compare it to the size of the old drive in theater screens that are no longer around these days. He and I were situated close to the screen, so it was very large. On this screen were many scenes being played out, that were experiences of what had happened during my short life here on earth. There were so many scenes being played on the screen that it was as if my whole life was recorded there. The scenes were in random order, and no two consecutive scenes were in any way related to each other. It has been said many times that when we die, our whole life flashes before our eyes. This was what was happening to me. When Jesus brought my attention to a scene, it zoomed out until it almost filled the screen, but I was aware of some other scenes still active around the fringes of the scene that was now the center of our conversation.
As we watched the main scene that was active before us, He asked me questions about what had happened. He asked me why I had lied to my mother. He asked me why I had pulled my sister's hair. He asked me why I threw rocks at my dog. He asked me why I pulled my neighbor's cats' tail. We viewed many scenes where I had told someone a lie. I saw many scenes, including scenes where I was bullying someone, scenes where I had been at fault in insulting someone, and scenes where I had torn someone's clothes just for the spite of it. In every scene that we reviewed, he reiterated to me that I had seriously done something that was wrong, or that I had done an extraordinarily good thing.
As we discussed each scene, I had to answer to him and explain why I had acted as I did at that time. In explaining my actions in all the scenes, I was aware that I had done something very wrong, and when I tried to put a little spin in my answer to lessen the seriousness of my actions, he immediately stopped and corrected me. In scenes where I had done something good, he praised me profoundly. Jesus has a great sense of humor. In scenes where something funny happened, he laughed heartily and happily. In totality, the number of scenes that involved good actions on my part was significantly smaller than the ones where I had done something wrong. I knew I was in trouble with him. In fact, I was now really terrified that I would be condemned to hell.
Suddenly the screen went away and He took my hand and we began gravitating at a tremendous speed through a tunnel. The walls, ceiling and floor of this tunnel seemed to be actively churning, the same way you see smoke churning in the air above an open fire, except this was denser. As one travels down a road at high speed, the trees, power line poles, and anything else that is stationary along the road, seem to flash by in a blur as you go past them. In this tunnel, there was no sense of blur. It was as if the walls, ceiling and floor was actually moving with me at high speed, yet I had no sense that the tunnel itself was moving. I cannot describe the walls, ceiling and floor except to say that the word "Firmament" as used in the book of Genesis is the best description. As I took in these observations about the tunnel, I became aware that much time was elapsing as we sped along so quickly. I then looked ahead and saw a light far ahead of me. I thought, "Aha! We're getting there finally!" But Suddenly, I wasn't there anymore!
One of my friends swam under me and in reaching for me, had brushed my foot with his hand. At that instant, I was back in my body in the water. I was again fighting for air and struggling desperately to the surface of the water. My friend swam under me and came up between my legs and raised me to the surface and started swimming toward shore. As I gasped for breaths of air, it was the sweetest tasting air I had ever breathed. As he swam a short distance with me on his back, I realized that he was now starting to struggle too. I realized that I was going to drown him if I continued to weigh him down, so I slid one leg over him and slid off into the water. As my feet touched the river bottom, he came up gasping for air. We both struggled to shore and collapsed on the bank. I immediately began vomiting up the river water I had swallowed in the struggle. I had swallowed so much water that my stomach was stretched to the limit and it was causing me to vomit, over and over again. I must have vomited water 15 times or more, and then began dry heaving another 10 or 15 times. I was in truly agonizing pain all over my body. My muscles were dog-tired from the struggle, my stomach, from the stretching by the excess water, and the long bout of vomiting and heaving. I remained sore for two weeks afterward. My father decided we had been through too much for the day and took us all home.
As I reflected on the experience in the next days and weeks, I never once remembered the scenes with Jesus, or the traveling through the tunnel. The only thing I could remember was that my whole life had flashed before my eyes. About thirty years later I was reading about someone in a newspaper article who had a near-death experience, and some of the scenes he described seemed to jog my memory. After some reflection, I realized that I had suffered so much shock at the time that I had suffered Post Traumatic Stress syndrome, and could not recall the scenes. Only after searching my mind over many weeks and months did it slowly come back to me.