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  • Writer's pictureMark Alan Williams

My Heart Stopping Experience (Literally!)

Jesus’ Journey to the Cross Gives Us Eternal Life

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Several years ago I had a literal heart stopping experience. My heart had begun beating irregularly (technically called atrial fibrillation). So to get it back into normal rhythm, the doctors decided to do a “cardioversion.” That’s a defibrillation through electric shock to the chest. Thankfully, they put me under for a few minutes while they did it.

The doctor explained that while I was asleep, they’d first stop my heart for a few moments. Then they’d (hopefully!) start it again with the shock, and then (hopefully) it would beat properly. They had me sign all the papers saying that if I died during the procedure, it wasn’t their fault and I couldn’t sue them!

The anesthesiologist put a mask over my nose and said to count backwards from 10. I only got to about 8. The next thing I experienced was really awesome. I felt the most wonderful feeling of peace and joy. I was in a place that I didn’t ever want to leave. Never before or since have I felt like that. It was incredible.

Carolyn and I have two different theories of what happened:

I think I had a near death experience and got halfway to heaven. Many have had similar experiences. For a great book on the topic see the book Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You by John Burke.My wife Carolyn, an RN, thinks it was just a drug induced stupor!

But here’s what’s wonderful: the Bible promises that heaven will be something like that blissful experience I had. While I only had it for a fleeting moment, in heaven it will last for eternity. And we can know we’re headed for heaven!

How do we know that we will have that feeling and eternity forever? Because of Jesus’ journey to the cross.

Here are 4 facts that give us hope for our final heart stopping experience:

1. Jesus’ journey to the cross was entirely intentional.

Many think Jesus’ life was all about:

  • Being an example

  • Being a great moral teacher

  • A tragic end to a good person

But in fact, Jesus’ life was all about going to the cross to die for our sins.

“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51 ESV)

“And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31 ESV)

2. Jesus’ heart stopping experience was a physical and spiritual death for us.

Jesus literally died physically. For three days he was in the tomb.

He also died spiritually when he took our sins upon Himself. He could do this because He was God the Son.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8 NIV)

3. Jesus journey to the cross culminated in His resurrection from the dead.

Had Jesus stayed dead, we would be hopeless. But instead, he rose from the grave to conquer sin and death.

“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25 NIV)

4. When we know Jesus, we know eternal life.

So far the death rate hovers around 100%. (That’s a joke—it is 100%!) From the richest to poorest, greatest to smallest, smartest to not so bright, all die.

Jesus provides the solution to the final heart stopping experience for all of us!

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22 ESV)

If you aren’t sure that you have received salvation from your final heart stopping experience, please see my salvation page to do so.

SPECIAL NOTE: This lesson somewhat parallels the first lesson of my new ministry Discipleship Journeys with Jesus. I’d love you to pray for us as we begin this new mission that will provide 52 lessons for making mature disciples. If you’d like to get email updates, please sign up on the home page of our DJJ website.

For more biblical advice and insight into heaven and eternity, see my articles and podcasts:

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