Continuing the story of atheist Ian McCormack’s encounter with God, we pick up the story from last week – if you haven’t read it, click here so you have the context of what comes next (below)

‘In the pitch black,  Ian found himself drawn up through a beam that increased in light density as  he was lifted through the darkness towards the light. He says,

I felt like a speck of dust being drawn up into a beam of sunlight. I found myself standing in the presence of awesome light and power. I felt pure unadulterated Love flow over me. Love, I thought, how could God love me? I’ve taken his name in vain, I’ve slept around, I’m not a good man, but no matter what I said, waves of His unconditional Love continued to flow over me. I found myself weeping uncontrollably in His Presence. I could see a man standing in front of me, but he was not like anyone I’d ever seen before in my life. His garments were shimmering white in colour. I knew I was looking upon God. As I looked toward His face the intensity of the light seemed to increase  – you couldn’t make out the form of his face as the light was so bright. Moving closer, waves of more Love began to flow towards me, and I felt very safe…  I knew I belonged here, that God had created me to live here – I knew I was home.” (Ian McCormack)

But God had other plans for Ian. It wasn’t yet time for him to go to heaven.

I was just about to enter in and explore, when God stepped back in front of me, and asked me this question. ‘Now that you have seen – do you wish to step in or do you wish to return?’ God then spoke to me and said 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. Looking back towards the tunnel again I could see a vision of all my family, and thousands and thousands of other people. I asked God who all these people were, and He told me that if I didn’t return then many of these people would not get a chance to hear about Him.

Ian told God that he did wish to go back for the sake of his mother, and for those who had not yet heard about God’s love. Suddenly, Ian found himself…

lying back on a hospital bed with my right leg elevated, cupped in the hands of the young Indian doctor who had been trying to save my life. He had a scalpel or some sharp instrument in his hand and he was prodding the base of my foot like a dead piece of meat. Something seemed to spook the doctor and he quickly turned his head just as my right eye opened and looked at him… Terrified,  the doctor stepped back as if  he had just seen a dead man looking at him…

Shocked and amazed to see Ian alive, the medical staff were amazed to see him, back from the dead! The fact that he awoke at all was an extraordinary miracle.

It is worth noting that when I heard Ian McCormack tell his story to the church I was attending in Hanwell, West London  27 years ago, I remember it differently. My recollection was that he had been dead for 15 minutes and that a tag with his names and details had been tied to his toe and he had been placed in a body bag. It’s possible that I may have read that part (a year later in a Gospel pamphlet about Ian McCormack’s experience) but the fact remains that this was a unique experience  – a miracle (if you like) but more importantly an insight into the Afterlife and the Grace of God.  Check in next week for part 3….