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An encounter with Jesus after dying

I knew a man who was resuscitated after having been dead half an hour.  Suffering from a severe case of double pneumonia, he died and had a prolonged encounter with Jesus.  His story may not fit your theological framework.    I met Dr. George Ritchie in 1986.  Prior to…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I knew a man who was resuscitated after having been dead half an hour.  Suffering from a severe case of double pneumonia, he died and had a prolonged encounter with Jesus.  His story may not fit your theological framework. 
I met Dr. George Ritchie in 1986.  Prior to our encounter, knowing the sensational nature of his story, he gave me references to verify his credibility.  On the occasion of our meeting, Dr. Ritchie related to me his encounter with our Lord after dying, a story which he also recounted in his book, Return from Tomorrow.

“I wasn’t sure when the light in the room began to change; suddenly I was aware that it was brighter, a lot brighter, than it had been.  It was impossibly bright.  “I’m glad I don’t have physical eyes at this moment,” I thought.  “This light would destroy the retina in a tenth of a second.”

The instant I perceived Him, a command formed itself in my mind.  “Stand up!  You are in the presence of the Son of God.”

When I say He knew everything about me, this was simply an observable fact.  For into that room along with his radiant presence – simultaneous had also entered every single episode of my entire life.  On all sides of us was what I could only think of as a kind of enormous mural – except that the figures on it were three dimensional, moving and speaking.  And with this all-inclusive view came a question.

“What have you done with your life to show Me?”

He wasn’t asking about accomplishments and awards.  The question, like everything else proceeding from Him, had to do with love.  How much have you loved with your life?  Have you loved others as I am loving you?  Totally?  Unconditionally?

Hearing the question like that, I saw how foolish it was even to try to find an answer in the scenes around us.  I hadn’t known love like this was possible.  Someone should have told me, I thought indignantly.

The answering thought held no rebuke, only that hint of heavenly laughter behind the words:  “I did tell you.  I told you by the life I lived.  I told you by the death I died.”

George Ritchie reentered what C.S. Lewis termed “the dark planet” longing to be back in the presence of the One who loved him unconditionally.  The experience brought the focus and passion to his life that we all seek. 
Regardless of what you may think of his story, the question Jesus posed to Ritchie is provocative. I couldn’t help reflecting on the question myself, searching old journals and family video tapes.  What would I show Jesus?  What would He think of my life – would he find there a passion for His cause?  How about you?

Comments (7)

  • We may think that we love…and in fact, probably do at times…but this piece convicted me.

    I am reading as I just returned from taking my two daughters to the school bus. Monday was a holiday and the next two days were canceled due to snow. Needless to say, when this morning rolled around and there wasn’t even a delay and mobilization had to happen, it wasn’t pretty. My older daughter can be under the covers and spring to life in short order. Her sister is like a (slow) bull in a china shop and it sets the stage for disharmony. Love was in short supply all the way around this morning.

    I want that passion; I want what it demands to love even when I don’t feel like it and snarky remarks are on the tip of my tongue.

    Sigh. Thank GOd we get a new start everyday…

  • Excellent post for reflection, Seth!

    If we pray and then listen, He will tell us what to do. What a world it would be if we all looked to provide service to others and in so doing show love!


  • Hello Seth, great blog today. I think the closest we can get to our Fathers love is to Desire Him. The word Desire, means to put aside everything else for the one person, Christ. May our love be a pure reflection of His love for His adopted children, us..

  • Hey Seth, this something not related to this article. I just felt the urgency of posting here as soon as I remembered it.
    Yesterday (12th July 2012), I learned about a friend who is battling diabetes. I was so emphatic with his situation and even more encouraged by how brave he was handling it.
    Later at around 1:49 a.m I was awaken from sleep by sharp pains in my left arm. It felt like someone had tied my arm with a band so tight as when searching for a vein for injection.
    I started praying and remembered my friend who is battling diabetes. I prayed for him and for anyone else going through pain and for myself. The pain stayed with for while and then stopped.
    Am just wondering what was it all about.

    Is there any spiritual connection with my friend? (I have known him only for a short time)

  • Sounds like it could be. I have no biblical basis for that, but I’ve heard of similar situations where God gives people the same pains others are feeling to get them to pray. And then he answers their prayers.

  • This makes me want to cry! There was a time when this scenario would have scared me to death just thinking about it, but now… I live for it! In the meantime, stories like this make me reflect on how much more I can be giving and loving right now, because I want to be able to show Jesus every single day of my life as an example when He asks me. Thank you for posting this, Seth.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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