Today my guest writer tells of his own life and death experience. It’s amazing. James Willcox is a rancher in southern Colorado and a Christian novelist. He’s been married to his wife, Bobbie for nearly 43 years. His website is www.jameswillcox.com
THROUGH THE SHADOW OF DEATH by James Wilcox
I dearly love this saying. “It isn’t of great concern…a child who fears the dark. But this is tragic…an adult who fears The Light!” I can assure you…The Light is nothing to fear .
September 21, 2011 started out like most mornings. I had been having chest pains off and on over several days.. Getting up that Wednesday morning, I somehow knew the pain was going to return. Nonetheless, I went outside to do my chores. By the time I finished, the pain was the worst it had ever been.
My chest felt like it would explode!
Approaching a tractor, I leaned on it, my vision blurred. I realized death was near and it frightened me. However, the fear quickly left and never returned as I became aware of a caring light that enveloped me. It was paper-thin but was enough to keep the utter, unbelievable, coal black darkness away from me. I was not seeing any colors, only white and black.
I didn’t see Him, yet I knew with all certainty it was Jesus who asked me if I wanted to live. Immediately, I answered, “Yes.”
The light pushed hard against the endless darkness, moving it back several feet. Until then, I felt I was suffocating because the blackness was so heavy and seemed so determined. I thought about lying down but knew for certain, if I voluntarily lay down, I would surely die! I decided to try and make it to the car, which was about eighty feet away. Without realizing it, I was beginning my journey through ‘The Valley of the Shadow of Death.’
During this walk and for a short time afterward, I have no memory of the relentless pain in my chest. When I began to walk, the sinister darkness attacked the light, battering against it constantly. As the protecting light was pushed in at various spots, it repelled the single-minded darkness every time and maintained its posture.
Walking on, this action continued and was now occurring at a faster pace. Many times, the harsh darkness formed a cone, ramming into the light, attempting to penetrate. I reasoned from the beginning of this battle, if there were even a hole smaller than the size of a tiny pin in the serene light, the ruthless darkness would get through and I would be engulfed in complete blackness.
Suddenly, I heard a voice asking. “What if you fall down?”
There is no doubt in my mind; Satan himself had asked this question!
Without any misgivings, I quickly and confidently answered. “If I can’t help it, I needn’t be worried.” The constant, persistent, ramming and repelling was even faster now. I ignored the possibility of involuntarily falling as I continued to walk, not fearing what might happen, should I fall.
Reaching the car, I stood against it. The raging battle subsided, and then stopped altogether.
Jesus inquired once again. “Do you want to live?”
My mind said, “Yes,” but I really didn’t give an answer, being certain my response needed to be delayed.
I now saw a door. An image behind it was obscure but nonetheless there…Jesus Himself!
Suddenly, I was in a very unique room. This rectangular room was not large but had a ceiling, hardwood floor and walls. The door Jesus was standing behind was at one end. The other end was completely open to the world I knew.
Gazing at it, I even saw colors!
Having no desire to go to that familiar world, this one-of-a-kind room quickly drew my focus back to itself. I was awestruck, at great peace, very content and felt totally secure in this extraordinary room which was full of wondrous light. The soothing light was comforting beyond description! Somehow, I could see the darkness was confined on the outside of the two walls and ceiling. This matchless room had no roof.
All of a sudden, I was sure, if I chose to die, Jesus would be a bit disappointed in me, yet I would still be welcomed into heaven. It made me realized God must still have something for me to do in the world!
The moment was now upon me to respond to the all-important question Jesus had asked. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, I discerned the answer I needed to give Jesus was not a simple “yes” or “no,” but involved a great deal more. Was my faith and relationship I professed with my Savior a facade or was it real? Without any concern about the outcome, it was with complete sincerity, release, trust and peace I answered His question saying, “You decide. It’s up to You.”
Instantly, the darkness cowered away in retreat to a point I could no longer see it being replaced with that marvelous, all-encompassing light. Next, the door, image and room were gone as life started to become normal again, except for the Herculean pain deep in my chest. I managed to get the car in front of the yard, made my way into the house and in a few minutes was taken to our local hospital by members of my family.
I will always remember the peace that continued to dwell deep within me on arrival at our local emergency room. There was never any uncertainty in my mind that God would see me thorough whatever lay ahead. Since our small rural hospital isn’t equipped to handle a major heart attack victim, a Flight for Life helicopter was called to take me to a hospital in Colorado Springs. Given the way our medical system works, I should have been taken to a hospital in Pueblo. Was it oversight? I’m sure it wasn’t! It was unbelievable how every event of that day fell into place like a well-fitting puzzle. Only God could have orchestrated it. Later that same day, I had triple bypass surgery and spent six days in the hospital.
Am I bitter because I had to endure the pain, trauma, expense and inconvenience that accompany heart surgery? Not in the least. God allowed me to encounter Him in an unprecedented way and took me on a spiritual adventure I wouldn’t trade for the entire universe!