Those who undergo near-death experiences often find their outlooks, their attitudes, their very beliefs are changed. Here are five lessons learned from encounters with the afterlife.
Some scientists are skeptical of near-death experiences (NDEs), but the impression they leave on survivors is undeniable. Those who go beyond the veil are often left forever changed. As Dr. Raymond Moody, a.k.a. the father of NDE studies, told Mysterious Ways, “It changes [survivors’] lives dramatically. They come back and say that the most important thing we can do is to learn how to love.”
Here are just a few more of the unforgettable lessons and messages that NDE survivors have brought back from heaven…
1. Heaven is Absolutely Real
In 1999, Dr. Mary C. Neal and her husband decided to kayak a section of river in Chile. They had been kayaking for 20 years and were in the company of professionals. Ostensibly, they had nothing to worry about—until the unexpected happened. Mary rocketed down a waterfall and was submerged in 10 feet of water, pinned by her boat. Though trapped, she felt calm, embraced in Christ’s arms. She saw spiritual beings dressed in brilliant robes of love and a flower-lined pathway leading to a great domed structure. Mary was ready to leave this world, but she was told it was not her time.
“God loves us more than we can ever imagine…” Mary later told Mysterious Ways of her experience. “In addition to that, there's no question that I learned that God is real and present, working in our world. God's miracles are present if we look for them. Heaven is absolutely real.”
2. Life Goes by in the Blink of an Eye
While ice climbing in Canada, then-21-year-old Peter Panagore succumbed to frostbite and hypothermia. He felt his soul sucked out of his body. Then he was floating and a giant gateway, 100 yards high and 70 yards wide, appeared. Peter wordlessly spoke to God and was given a choice to go through the gate or return to earth. Peter chose to go back.
The experience left him completely changed. He became a minister and today counsels the dying and grieving. Of his encounter with God, Peter recalled, “I couldn’t see God, and yet I could sense him winking at me. That’s the only human way I can describe it. A message he wanted me to know. This thing we call life, it’s the blink of an eye. But heaven, that’s a vision that spans eternity.”
3. God is Always with Us
Diagnosed with two rare digestive disorders from a young age, Annabel Beam was used to pain. She spent most of her childhood in and out of hospitals. The day of her NDE, Annabel and her family were coming back from a hard day at the hospital. Annabel told her mom she wanted to die so she could be with Jesus, away from the pain of her existence. Undeterred, Annabel’s sisters encouraged her to play.
Annabel was having more fun than she’d had in a long time when the unthinkable happened: She fell 30 feet into a hollow tree. While unconscious, she met Jesus and an angel. She awoke to find herself cured. Today, Annabel uses her platform to promote positivity and faith even in the bleakest moments. As she puts it, “I hope people learn that He is always faithful to you, and no matter how bad things get, he’s always with you.”
4. There’s a Purpose to Life on Earth
Dr. Eben Alexander III was a skeptic by trade. Though he’d grown up in a religious family, as a neurosurgeon, the concept of life after death seemed unlikely. Eben knew life was generated and sustained by the brain and body—without it, how could anyone survive? That perspective changed when Eben was diagnosed with a rare form of bacterial meningitis, leaving him comatose for a week. During that time, he glimpsed heaven—lush valleys, angels and a deceased sister he never knew.
Eben was initially cagey about his experience, but has since opened up, writing a book and talking to audiences across the nation. One question he’s asked? If heaven is so perfect, what’s the point of life on earth? His response: “This is where we learn the lessons, of loving ourselves, loving all beings, showing compassion, forgiveness, acceptance. We are here to do that—manifest every bit of that love as our souls ascend to higher and higher levels. That’s why we are here. We don’t just end this life and go sit on a cloud playing a harp somewhere; this is a dynamic process of learning and growing.”
5. Life is Worth Fighting For
Bruce van Natta had a lot to live for. He loved his job, had a devoted family life and managed to build a successful mechanic business from the ground up. While not particularly spiritual, his wife, Lori, encouraged him to seek a stronger connection with God. Bruce humored Lori, but felt his relationship with God had hit a peak. That all changed when a logging truck fell on top of him while he was trying to fix an oil leak. Bruce felt himself float above his body.
He saw angels—massive, powerful men in radiant, white robes. Then a voice called out to him: “If you want to live, I’m here,” the voice said. “But it won’t be easy. You’re going to have to fight, harder than you’ve ever fought for anything. Are you willing?” Bruce fought for his life, and in doing so, found renewed, eternal strength in God. “God had sent angels to let me know he’d be there with me through the challenges ahead, that my relationship with him would deepen,” Bruce says of the experience. “I’ve learned how frail the human body is. Yet I’ve discovered the strength the Lord offers us to draw from, present in ways I could never have believed.”
All different near-death experiences. All messages of love.
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