The Night I Died - My near-death experience

Written by John Helms



Used with permission.


It was the summer of 1969 on a hot August night about 11:00pm and I was out cruising in my '69 V.W. Beetle down highway 51 just south of the Tennessee-Mississippi state line. I had just bought a boss crome, eight-track Leer tape deck that day, and was listening to Cream's new song, "Born under a bad sign", cranked up loud so I could get the most out of my box speakers mounted over the rear seat. All of the sudden I had the strangest vision in my head that I was locked into a head-on collision and there wasn't any way that I could avoid it. My stomach felt kinda queasy and I started to get scared.

Just then, a car came out of nowhere going at least 100 m.p.h. As he tried to turn the curve in the road, the left side of the car lifted off the road because it was going so fast. When it came back down, the car was headed straight for me! All I had time to do was to turn my steering wheel sharply to the right in order not to take a direct head-on hit. Then the car hit me with tremendous force and a loud "boom" and my car spun around several times like a child's toy top. I knew that this was the end of my life.

When my car stopped spinning, I was experiencing a great deal of pain and the first thing I did was to feel my arms and body to see if I was dismembered. After I did that, I looked down at my left leg and saw that it was bent at a left angle like a backwards "L". I wasn't as worried about my leg as I was the pain I was experiencing inside my body. I knew that all my ribs were crushed on my left side, and I was afraid that they were puncturing my lungs, since I could hardly breathe, but luckily I wasn't bleeding from my mouth.

I looked out my window a Highway Patrol car came flying past me with his lights and siren on. He was chasing the drunk driver who had just hit me. I waved my arm at him for help, but I guess he didn't see me me waiving or else he wanted to catch the drunk who had just hit me. I didn't want to die sitting in my car, besides I thought it might catch on fire. With this thought, I felt an adrenaline rush and I managed to push open my caved-in door and drug myself out of my car and onto the street on my belly about 10 feet away from my car and rolled over on my back.

I looked back at my car and and parts of it were strewn down the street. I then looked up to the stars and told God that if He wanted to take me now that I was ready. Shortly a crowd of people came out of nowhere and huddled around me. I heard somebody tell the crowd to stand back so I could get some air. Everybody was making negative comments that I wasn't going to make it. I was in incredible pain and in shock also. Suddenly, all the pain from my neck down was shut off like a light switch. Then I saw a tunnel of white light - I felt my spirit leaving my body and I started to ascend upward into this tunnel of light at a very fast speed. I was dying! My mind was totally focused on this and nothing else. I wasn't conscious of the crowd standing around me, of my physical body, or anything going on around me.

I rose up the white tunnel of light faster and faster and higher and higher until I was miles above the stars. Then I cam to a stop and felt myself engulfed in an overpowering unconditional love, the likes of which I have never experienced in my life. I was at complete peace. The Bible describes God's peace "a peace which passeth all understanding". Complete peace, tranquility and harmony. It was what I always thought heaven would be like, except it was better and much more beautiful. Everything made complete sense to me. My mind was at one with God's mind and I was at one with God and the whole universe. A mere thought and you were immediately transported there! I felt I was in the presence Jesus and He said," Come on John, come go with me-I want to show you something". As soon as he said that, we were hovering over a beautiful white, christen beach along side an ocean or a large body of water that was a pretty shade of blue-green. And as if I was on a camera boom doing a movie, I came to a close-up of the sand. Then Jesus picked up a handful of sand showed it to me and said," look at this sand, John" as he let it slowly run out of his hand until only one grain of sand was left in the palm of his hand. He said," do you see this grain of sand, John?" I replied," yes, Lord". Jesus continued," every crises and traumatic experience that you have or will ever experience in your whole life on earth is as small and insignificant as this little grain of sand that I hold inhere in my hand as compared to the glory and joy which awaits you here in Heaven. No more worries, no more sorrow, no more heartache or loneliness, no more pain, no more physical disabilities, no more disease or illness -all that will be left on earth." I then laughed to myself at all the things that I was so worried about. I felt as though I was going to explode with joy-that I couldn't take being in the presence of almighty God any longer of the awesome power and glory of God's infinite love and mercy!

Just then I felt myself ascending even higher in the heavens in the tunnel of light. All of the sudden I stopped and a huge hand slowly came out of the tunnel of light with the palm of his hand facing me and said," no John, I'm not ready for you yet." I said," please God, I don't want to go back". As soon as I said that I felt my spirit descending as quickly as I ascended, and felt my spirit come back into my body and then I felt the pain come back and I saw the people all standing around me and a preacher was bending over me and was saying words to try and save my soul from going to hell. I told him that I was a Christian and that I wasn't going to die, although he and everyone else was quite convinced that I was. About that time the paramedics finally came on the scene and loaded me onto a stretcher and into the "meat wagon" and I was off to Baptist Hospital.

All of the doctors who helped with my surgery told me that I shouldn't have lived through my accident and that it was a miracle that I was still alive. I know God saved me for a special purpose in this life and I know that I am accountable to Him for what I do with it. I have gone through many difficult times since my "near death experience"-times when there didn't seem to be any hope left - I just wanted to give up on life and call it quits, but I always think back on my "NDE" and it reminds me that there really is a God in Heaven, because I met Him in a very personal and dramatic way. I know that what I experienced was real, even though other Christians think I'm nuts when I share my testimony with them. I also know that He does love me, even when I think He doesn't and everyone else has deserted me, I know that He is there for me. This gives me hope to go on when life seems hopeless and something to look forward to after my life on earth is over. Death is only a transition to an eternal life with God if we only accept Him as the Lord of our life and believe in Him through His son, Jesus Christ.

If you are going through difficult times or have doubts about God's promises and what the Bible says, just put your faith and trust in the Lord and pray to him for help and guidance even though nothing makes any sense now- then just take it one day at a time. I hope my real-life testimony has helped you in some way. You know, Jesus didn't tell us this life was going to be easy, but we can persevere with his help and by his grace.

Note from webmaster: John is a wonderful artist and I asked him if his NDE (near-death experience) influenced his painting in anyway?

John's Reply: Maybe in a subconscious way but what my NDE HAS taught me is to be kind to people less fortunate than myself - to be more giving of my time to people who really need a friend - when other people ignore or shun them, like an old lady who lives behind me an is lonely and needs someone just to talk to. She really appreciates me taking the time to visit her-same with a little crippled man I've known for years. He has no friends and sits alone in his wheelchair in a nursing home-all he does is watch TV and sleep and eat-he doesn't have any friends, except for me, I guess. and when I go to visit him or take him to Wal-Mart to buy some things he desperately needs, he really appreciates it and the time I spend with him. I don't have much financially speaking, but I 've found out that rich people as well as poor people want someone to spend time with them-seems like people are lonely these days and need time spent with other people.

God showed me that this time that we have here on earth, which is only a blink of an eye, is a test to see where we fit in eternity-in heaven or in hell.....What we do with our life and how we conduct ourselves is his test for each person on earth -to love one another as He loves us, and things that we don't understand - we won't have the answer to until we get to heaven.


Visit John Helm's [website].