I don’t know his name or where he lived or what he did for a living.
Here’s what I do know: he had been completely blind since birth. He was young and healthy. He needed routine surgery.
And he died on the operating table.
This is where it gets interesting. At the time of his death, this young man – I’ll call him Tim – felt himself floating upwards towards the ceiling. This provided him with a perfect view of the surgical team below, who were feverishly working on his body in an attempt to resuscitate him.
Notice what I said. He was LOOKING down on the team. He could see. Tim was no longer blind.
He noticed the nurse’s red shoes. He saw the bald spot on the top of the surgeon’s head. He noticed that the ‘X” in the Exit sign was not illuminated.
Tim heard the doctor call the time of his death at 11:32 a.m. He then watched as his body was covered with a sheet and transported on a gurney to the basement morgue.
This is where it gets even more interesting. Tim’s body was placed in a black body bag, assigned a morgue drawer, and placed inside what is essentially a giant refrigerator. The morgue assistant closed and latched the door.
All this time, Tim was observing his surroundings. He had never been in a morgue so he found the whole experience fascinating.
After a couple of hours, the morgue assistant pulled out Tim’s drawer in order to attach a toe tag – a piece of cardboard tied to the deceased’s big toe for the purpose of identification. Unfortunately, when the assistant yanked the cap off the marker he used for the tags, the cap flew out of his hands. He searched but was unable to locate it.
It was at about this time that (when?) Tim seemed to drift down from the ceiling and back into his body.
I can scarcely imagine the poor morgue attendant’s fright when a supposedly dead guy in a body bag suddenly moved, or mentioned that he was awake, or asked for a drink of water.
Tim was alive. And once again, he was blind.
Later, Tim told his doctor all that he had seen. Even though he described his experience in detail, the doctor dismissed it. He insisted that it was just a hallucination, or Tim dreamt it, or he was making it up. Maybe the brain sent crazy signals at the time of death, making Tim think he could see. The doctor considered every possibility except the possibility that Tim was, in fact, telling the truth.
Frustrated by the conversation, Tim got up to leave the doctor’s office. When he reached the door, he turned back. “Oh, by the way,” Tim said casually, “tell the morgue assistant that the cap to his marker is underneath the radiator.”
Many years have passed since I first heard Tim’s story, and it still makes me smile. God’s world is so much bigger than I can understand, and so much more wondrous. Great is our God, and greatly to be praised.