Near Death Experiences That Change Us


Near death experiences redefine us. They position us for living life more richly. In other words, they remind us to cherish what matters most. It happened just like that this week on the farm.

The phone rang.  I was too late and I missed it.  I promptly returned the call.  My daughter answered giving instructions.

“Danny suggests the twins get a hotel room. They should not drive home from work.  He just rolled his truck on the icy highway.”

My daughter spoke with no emotion, her typical matter-of-fact style. She keeps calm, cool, and collected in times of crisis.  She always has.  

Perhaps that is why it took a moment for the seriousness to sink in.  Then the full magnitude hit me.  Danny was in a serious wreck.  I fired off one question after another.  My daughter responded with her classic calm.  I could hear my grandson babbling in the background.   Danny was ok.  The truck was a total loss. 

I hung up to give my son a call.  He answered, his voice wavering.  I arranged to go get him.  Typically, it would take an hour to arrive. But the icy conditions made the trip much longer giving me time to think.  It was a close call.  Consequently, those near death experiences give us time to think about what matters most.  Milestone moments of relationships standout with clarity.  I reviewed it all on my drive to pick Danny up. 

Their wedding day flashed before my eyes
The joy of expecting their first baby and the playful moments they shared
The tender moment of holding their newborn son

Then there is the sobering reality of what could have been with this near loss.  I couldn’t help but relive the joy of my relationship with Danny.  He has added so much happiness to my daughter’s life, to my life.  It is hard to remember life without Danny.  He has fit right in and we love him as though he was right here all along.

Laughter is such a part of our relationship

Danny’s presence in our lives is a precious reminder of God’s grace.  That is, He reaches into a broken life and calls that person to be His own setting them apart.  Danny entered our lives as a new Christian.  No doubt that notion challenged us as parents. Was it real? Would it last long or even for a lifetime? We know being in love leads a man to surrender it all. Some sell shotguns or their favorite trucks. But what about giving up a life time of hard living? The risk of the unequal yoke crossed our minds.  But only God knows the heart of man and we have witnessed the beauty of God’s work in Danny’s heart. 

Trusting God with our daughter gave us a front row view of the transformative power of the Gospel with our son-in-law.  Moreover, watching him grow is an awe-inspiring process.  It is much like watching the world in wonder through the eyes of child.  You celebrate the growth milestones with a child from sitting up to walking.  The celebration is rich and sweet.  Simply, it is just like that when watching the transformation of a new believer.  Just like a child struggles to exercise new skills in development, so does the young believer.  Taking those first steps into the unknown are a little wobbly and unsure. Then there is the fall.  But the beauty of God’s grace in rising again. 

Indeed, I am so thankful that God chose us (with Moriah’s help) to be his parents, we are reminded of the joy that comes with conversion.  More importantly, I am thankful that he walked to my car with no injuries. He asked me how does a person recover from a tragedy like this. The only way I know how is to praise God. That is, exalt the treasures in the trauma rather than elevate the loss. Intentionally shift our mindset to gratitude.

I savored the scene of the long hug between my daughter, grandson, and Danny. 

True, the outcome could have been so different. We experienced the abundance of God’s mercy this week in our family. I am ever so grateful this was just one of those near death experiences.

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  1. “He asked me how does a person recover from a tragedy like this. The only way I know how is to praise God. That is, exalt the treasures in the trauma rather than elevate the loss. Intentionally shift our mindset to gratitude.”

    This spoke to me. I’m not well versed in praise… But when I stop and think about it, I ought to be — I deserve death… And yet I keep experiencing an abundance of mercy. I hope my repentance is genuine.

    1. Rebekah, thank you so much for sharing. Practicing praise is a process that is so challenging especially when the world around us is so negative. My youngest daughter bought a journal for Christmas for the family. She asked us all to use it as a family gratitude journal. She wants us to fill it up with praises for 2021. 2020 was challenging. We knew the difficulties were not likely over. So, she came up with the idea to be intentional about filling up the journal. I thought that was dandy. At the end of the year, we can have a family meal and read through the journal. I love that God lavishes us with His grace even when we fall short. It is what makes His grace so Amazing. It is there that we become awe-inspired to grow a bit more.

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