by Vicki Nunn

When I was in hospital after thyroid surgery in 1994, the doctor and staff were unaware that my parathyroids had stopped working due to the trauma of the surgery. These glands govern the calcium levels in one’s body.

About 2am I woke up feeling quite strange as my calcium levels had bottomed out1. I was in the ICU and let the nurses know I was experiencing tingling and quite painful tightening of my muscles and that the sensations were worsening.

They must have recognised what was happening, though nobody explained anything to me. Unfortunately the doctor had gone home hours before and there was no-one to provide proper treatment. The nurses dashed out of the room and left me alone in the semi-dark, as they frantically tried to contact the doctor from the nurses station.

In extreme cases (as with mine) the entire body goes into severe spasm as every muscle in the body contracts tighter and tighter1. This means that both externally and internally, the throat and chest muscles tighten up, which restricts air-flow and in extreme cases like mine, can lead to death.

I remember not being able to move as the muscles agonisingly stiffened more and more and I soon realised that I was having difficulty breathing.

Left Alone

Meantime the nurses were outside on the phone in the nurses station, trying to contact the doctor for approval for intravenous calcium to be administered. That meant that no-one was checking on me to see if I was in distress and I was unable to move or call out to them for help. It was a truly terrifying experience.

I discovered that the body’s response to not getting enough air is enter into a state of utter panic, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about what was happening to me. It was a dreadful feeling – over-whelmed by panic, being powerless to move or call for help and not being able to get sufficient air.

It was then that I realised that I might just be dying. Throughout the entire experience I was completely lucid and conscious. Possibly five or ten minutes had passed by that time, and once I realised that perhaps I was going to die, it was if my mind just came to terms with it, and the feeling of panic evaporated.

Somehow, I was still managing to get enough air through shallow breathing to stay alive, but I wasn’t sure how long it would last.

I remember being disappointed, at the thought of dying because I still had so much that I wanted to do, as I was only thirty years old.

Once the disappointment passed, I grew excited upon realising that I was going to heaven! Woohoo! I immediately let go of my concerns about what I was leaving incomplete and basically called out to God in my mind, saying “I’m ready – let’s go!”

At that instant I sensed someone standing at the foot of my bed, their hands resting on the rail near my feet.

Though I couldn’t really see anyone in the half-light, I could still make out a kind of a vague outline of what appeared to be a male figure. I’m not sure who he was, but if he was an angel, he didn’t seem to have any wings.

He spoke into my mind with words of reassurance that everything would be fine, and a feeling of peace and calm enveloped me. Then He said that I wasn’t going to die because God still had a purpose for me, and that there were things yet for me to do.

Oh, the overwhelming and utter, crushing disappointment I felt when I realised that I wasn’t going to heaven after all! Moments before my mind had been blazing with an intensity of excitement that I’d never experienced before, and I’d been ready to drop everything and go!

Just a few moments later, the nurses returned to the room and as they switched on the lights, the figure disappeared. They administered the calcium through my drip and I was finally able to breathe normally again as the excruciating pain of my stiffened muscles eased.

As much as I wanted to share with the nurses about my experience, I realised that they were unlikely to appreciate what had happened and were likely to simply dismiss it as a side effect or my imagination. The main reason though that I didn’t share it with them, was that it was so intensely personal and such an incredible, supernatural experience that I was still feeling quite overcome and in awe of what had occurred.

How it Changed Me

The experience was so sobering and life-changing, that it affected the way I viewed my life as a Christian. Although before that time I’d usually tried to be obedient and do what God asked me, the near-death experience really took my commitment to a new level.

I’ve never forgotten that He asked me to stay for a reason, and I’ve always tried to remain conscious about whether I was fulfilling the purpose for which God had asked me to remain behind.

Am I Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Me?

After that time I continued working in children’s ministry until physical restrictions led me to giving that up.

A few years after that, I became a radio presenter on the local Christian radio station for around eleven years. Additionally I began a Christian singles ministries that I co-ordinated for fifteen years. After a time, due to health issues amongst other things, I eventually gave those up.

Now I’m both journalist and editor of SPAG Magazine, a project which was instigated in 2015 after God’s guidance for this new period of my life.

My next aim is to have two books edited and published and then complete the third book in the Christian series that I’m writing.

I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m boasting – I certainly don’t mean it to appear that way, but I can’t help but wonder if I would have achieved all of that without that supernatural and near-death experience which compelled me to strive harder to complete the work to which God called me.

Conclusion

My experience is not something that I would wish upon anyone, and it has certainly placed me in a rather unusual position: I can never doubt about where I am going and that God is very, very real. I also know that He is a personal God, not a vague, uncaring entity who has just left the world to run on its own, but someone who genuinely cares about every individual one of us and has a plan for each of us, if only we would be willing to let go of our fears and our pride and let God take control of our lives.

While I strive to obey God’s lead, my obedience hasn’t resulted in me living a wonderful life without any problems. Instead, part of my “package deal” as I call it, has been ongoing health issues, pain and physical restrictions. That means that I am no longer able to work in secure employment. While my financial situation has on occasion been quite dire, and trying to live on a disability pension is challenging, I know that God has my back. He has blessed me in many other ways and though there are still times when I struggle, I know that I’m exactly where God wants me to be.

How About You?

So how about you? Where is your focus? Is financial or job security high up on your priority list? Would you be willing to give them up if God asked you? Are you willing to drop your own personal goals if they clash with God’s purpose for you?

Do you need to go through a near death experience to get your priorities right? I hope not!

May I encourage you to sincerely seek God’s clarity and purpose for your life. Would you be willing to share with God about your fears, or if you have a struggle with letting go of what you think is important? Will you seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and open up your heart and your mind to wherever or whatever God wants for your life?

Be brave – take the risk – after all, God has already prepared everything in advance for you. Though it may mean a challenging experience or even facing terrible difficulties, are you willing to say “Yes,” to God’s plan and purpose for you?

While I can’t guarantee any angelic visitors, I can promise that the outcome will be worth it, and the promised retirement plan is out of this world! [End]

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1 Hypocalcemia

Link to a pdf copy of this article from Issue 8 of SPAG Magazine: Real Life Drama – what a near death experience taught me