In this blog I am sharing a story I was told by a man I worked with as the chaplain in a major hospital. I am mostly telling his story with only a little interpretation, so that you can share your ideas about what it mans to you. For instance do you think the man’s description of hell is real, as he says, or a dream, or a vision.
I met with H the first day he came in. He was in a car accident and broke the front and back of his neck. His face and upper body seem mostly unaffected. He has a strong upper body, except that his fingers are curled, but his lower body is paralyzed. He has a round head, mostly bald. On first impression he sort looks like a fighter. He has earthy good looks and a big smile. His face is engaging and he makes strong eye contact. There is charisma in his smile, but it sometimes fades to weariness.
When he had the accident he had two kids with his wife, and his wife also had a son before they were married.
He launched into telling me the following story: Early in his life he had done drugs and was heavily caught up in the gang world in LA for a long time. Some of his own gang members turned on him over a girl and tried to kill him, but his mother saw what happened and tricked him into moving to a central CA city. He got out of gangs, and got married. One night his stepson wanted to go out to some SF clubs. His wife let him because his son was a little depressed and getting over a break-up. His stepson was only 20. At the club there were not many people and H felt like they should leave. The club had three dance floors. His stepson sees a girl and followers her to the ‘underground’ floor and starts to drink. H goes down, and in the corner of the room he sees 5 demons. He said they were black, shadowy, and kind of see-through, and had red horrid eyes. He asks his stepson if he sees anyone in the corner, and his says, “No, what are talking about’. H still sees the demons and they beckon him to come over. But he goes with his stepson to get a drink. After that he doesn’t remember anything for almost two hours, but he must have been partying. Later it was told by doctors that his stepson had ecstasy in his blood. H conjectures that someone might of slipped him ecstasy, but doesn’t know. (Others suggested that sometimes devious people slip ecstasy into drinks just to watch how people act). In any case at around two in the morning they leave, and as soon as H steps outside he faints, and can’t stay awake. His stepson who is wasted drives home, and they get into a terrible accident.
In the hospital he finds that his wife is only concerned about her son and doesn’t pay attention to him. The doctors tell him they can operate on his neck but they don’t have much hope that he will live. His wife has power of attorney for him, but she doesn’t attend to Him. He feels abandoned by his wife. He tells the doctors to operate now, and his wife finally comes to agree.
He has a series of operations and each time the doctors are surprised he recovers better then they thought, and they keep taking further steps because he is improving. He begins to regain feeling in his body. During this time of his operations he said he was in an induced coma for three months. While in a coma he experienced the following:
He saw a light, and it was an opening to a tunnel. He went through the tunnel and on the other side he came out. He saw a black and red sky, and a demon flying in the air. He noticed the demon had broken wings, though this didn’t affect the way it flew. He looked down and saw a large river. It was very bright, like hot lava. He said that as he looked closely he saw people in the river making horrible screams and trying to get out. He said there were thousands and thousands of people in it. He saw that the river led to a lake.
He was on a sort of ledge above watching, and then the same 5 demons came near. They came after him, and he felt there was nothing he could do. He felt terror and that this was it – the demons were going to throw him in the river like the others, and he would be like this forever. Then he heard someone speaking in his ear. He felt the presence of the Lord. He felt the Lord enter his ear and move through his head, then down through his body into his heart. The demons tried to grab him, but somehow they couldn’t touch him. They were hideous, powerful, and enraged, right in his face, but could not touch him to throw him in. Then he felt something pull him from the back of his head and spine as if he had hair. But he was bald. He felt the Lord lifte him out from hell, and he woke up.
C4 – What did you feel when the presence entered your ear and your heart?
P4 – He was talking to me. It was the Lord. I felt so happy. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was done for the rest of my time. I have been bald for a long time. He lifted me by my body.
C5 – How come the demons couldn’t get you?
P5 – He was protecting me. They were so mad, but they couldn’t touch me. I was so thankful and happy. There was nothing I could do. I owe everything to him for saving me.
C6 – What was the point that you feel that you changed?
P6 – You know when I was younger I went to church sometimes. I knew that I was moving too fast and doing some wrong things. I heard God’s voice, but I didn’t pay attention. I said, “I’ll do it later”. But when he came in me I felt joy, and I said I am never letting go of this, and I never did. This is my witness.
P7 – What happened with your wife?
P7 – Things were still hard on me when I started to get better. I lost everything when this happened. My wife wasn’t there for me and left me, and I lost my kids. I only see them sometimes now. I can’t do anything to take care of them or get them back. I lost my job. I lost everything.
C8 – My God, that must of hurt so much. You must of felt abandoned.
P8 – Yah it hurt me a lot. Everything was so hard after that, trying to move and being helpless. But I had to let go of all that. I put all my heart in prayer and God, and knew that he would help me to get better. I had to focus on healing.
The weariness in him seemed to be from all the difficult things one after another that he went through, from the pain of operations and having to fight back.
Nevertheless he was steadfast in talking to anyone about how wonderful the Lord was. After the accident he changed from being Godless to expressing love For the Lord, and how the Lord saved him. He wanted to learn about the Lord everyday. We talked a lot about how the Lord redeems, and he would tell his story to anyone who would listen.
It was apparent he had a hard time speaking up for himself to people he thought were authority figures. He wouldn’t tell the doctors things he was feeling and needing; he was very constricted in expressing these things; he seemed to feel unworthy and suspicious of their acceptance. I had to work with him to help him see it was OK to express what he thought or needed for his body.