We had a small problem yesterday. It was very small.
While cleaning dust on the floor, someone bumped our Wi-Fi receiver. I think that’s what the small plastic box is called. As a result, we lost all of our Internet connections, including on television, computers and tablets. Don’t cry for me, that is definitely a first world problem, as thousands are desperate to escape death in Afghanistan, and COVID is still with us.
For me, a wire came loose from a plastic box; but as a result, everything in my life changed, and I lost a lot of my contact with the world around me. Imagine the sudden loss of all Wi-Fi connections. I did wonder if God was trying to tell me something. The problem ended this morning when a technician fixed the problem and restored the connection, like it never happened.
I wonder if that’s what it feels like to die. The world around me is filled with big important things and I am busy, and when a “wire comes loose” and it ends, and I lose my connection to those important things. It’s probably simple and not as dramatic as in the movies.
I wonder what God will tell me then?
That is morbid, but there many people who claim to have ‘near-death experiences’ or ‘NDEs’ that completely changed them. They died and came back, or they almost died. Some people see a bright light, and then return to this world instead of going to the light. Death taught them a lesson that changed them:
For some people, the NDE experience brings the voice of God. They learn something profound, and they have a message for the rest of us. Others claim to have increased powers as spiritual mediums, with important insights for us.
Not everyone finds Jesus.
In general, the ‘near-death experience’ or ‘NDE’ movement can be like a religion, with large conferences and seminars, and many Internet videos, and enough books to fill a library. This is an important area of study for psychologists.
READ: Near-death Experience
So, what should we do with NDE stories? Is there any truth in them? Can we learn something important? Is God telling us something?
There are many stories in the Bible where people experienced severe stress, and heard a message from God. For example, a woman named Hagar was lost in a desert with her baby, a boy named Ishmael. When the food and water ran out, she put the boy under a bush and moved away, so she wouldn’t hear him cry, as he died. The NDE happened to Ishmael. The message from God, to his mother, included “God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” (Genesis 21: 17)
Mother and son were saved, and life changed for them, in profound ways.
Also, three Hebrew men were executed by fire, but they all walked out of the furnace. (Daniel chapter 3)
A man named Paul wrote, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows.” (2 Corinthians 12:2).
There are more NDE stories in the Bible, including the big one. A man named Jesus was arrested and put on trial, and executed on a cross. He was really dead, and his body was put into a stone tomb, and on the third day he came out of the tomb alive.
Imagine the lessons Jesus could teach us from his profound experience, with death and resurrection. And imagine how much Paul could tell us from the lessons he learned.
We have to imagine because they didn’t tell us.
It is interesting that wise people in the Bible who had dramatic experiences, at least close to death, did most of their talking at other times. They didn’t meet God only when they were profoundly shaken. That man Paul told us, “God will credit righteousness, for us who believe in him.” (Romans 4:23)
In my experience, we can have that meeting with God anytime, and life is better when we do. If we only hear God when we are profoundly shaken, we have small faith. A man named Elijah escaped from his execution and hid in a cave, ready to die. He told God, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19: 4) In the story, Elijah experienced a violent storm, and fire, and an earthquake, but God finally spoke to him in a “still small voice” which he could have heard anytime. He only had to listen.
If there is a risk in the Near-Death Experience movement, it is the idea that we only listen to God when we have no choice, when the voice is loud and we can’t turn down the volume. The voice of God is not always a loud shout, although it may be, for some.
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them” … Remember him, before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12: 1 and 6 & 7)
Simple messages are easy to overlook, and the quality may not be to our standard, but they can contain great truth. This simple performance is profoundly true and I guess none of us heard it before: