Encounter With God
By Robert Hull
The 700 Club
"Law practice is a stressful environment, and you’re dealing with a lot of difficult situations," Jeffrey Thompson tells The 700 Club. "I used to wake up with a knot in my stomach every morning, feeling that stress."
"He just was burdened by work," his wife Madeline says. "It was always on his mind. It was a hard thing for him to turn off on the weekends or to get away from it."
"I was just focused so intently on my career that I was letting what was really important fall by the wayside," he says.
Jeffrey Thompson’s law practice took most of his time and energy. The pace of the job and the stress also took a toll on his body.
"I maintained that stress and it continued to work on me and on my body and eventually it broke down. I began having stomach pains, severe stomach pains. Initially I had no idea what it was. I thought I had an appendix rupture."
Jeffrey had developed diverticulitis, a painful condition causing inflammation in the intestinal wall. Months of natural treatments had failed and his condition was so advanced, he needed surgery to remove part of his intestine. What looked like a textbook operation left him suspended between life and death.
"I woke up to a surgeon pulling a sheet off of my stomach. As I looked down I knew immediately something was terribly wrong. I looked into the surgeon’s eyes and I could see concern on his face."
Madeline says, "He had been hemorrhaging for about 24 hours, and they had continually given him blood, but it was hemorrhaging into his abdomen. It was frightening. I’ve never seen anyone so pale. His lips were just completely white."
Jeffrey continues, "My internal clock told me that I was getting ready to die, that I only had a few seconds of consciousness left. I reached up to grab my wife. I just wanted to tell her how much I loved her and tell her that I was getting ready to leave her."
"I went to him and it was right after that that I lost him," Madeline says. "I could tell he left. He took my hand and then he was gone."
"My life came to my center torso," Jeff says. "I began to rise out of my body into that room. Everything was going haywire down below me. They were grabbing. They were saying, 'I’m going to lose him.'"
"They were doing everything they knew to keep him alive at that point," Madeline says.
"It looked like a disaster going on, but it was the sweetest day of my life," Jeffrey says. "I never had any pain, and I never had any fear."
As Jeffrey’s spirit hovered above his body, a light appeared in the room.
"It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It started in the center toward the ceiling and began to filter out into that room. I was immediately drawn to it. As it began to hit objects in that room, color came flooding out like I’ve never seen before. I could see everything in that room with perfect clarity. There was an entire dimension that we simply don’t see on earth. I’ve never been more alive than I was at that moment. It was incredible.
"I suddenly had an overwhelming sense of God’s presence, of His love of His peace, of His joy. It was all around me and in me. Literally every bit of this penetrated my soul. The thing that was just so incredible to me was how the maker of this universe, who can make the sun the moon, the stars and this earth and us, can come down and hold me and comfort me and love me as if I’m the only person in the universe. I remember thinking about the prodigal son, that long lost son who had gone out and strayed. He had come back home and his father was coming out to hold him, to love him and to welcome him back. That’s what was happening to me. It’s the sweetest love there is.
"I told Him I wanted to go with Him and then I had a fleeting thought, what about Madeline my wife, and what about Will? Then God told me internally I was going to go back. I remember jolting in my bed, and I remember opening my eyes. When I opened my eyes, I’m looking at the surgeon and he’s saying, ‘I’m losing him. We’ve got to get him back into surgery.’"
He was rushed back into surgery where doctors stopped the bleeding. When he finally regained consciousness, Jeffrey had a new understanding of God’s amazing love and presence in his life.
"God loves you more than you’ve ever known," he says. "He knows your circumstances. He knows what you’re going through. I used to wake up with a knot in my stomach. I wake up with joy in my heart. I know He’s with me. You can’t go through something like that and not be a changed man."
His wife says, "He has a peace about him. He’s a very peaceful and very centered. He’s really not fearful of anything now."
His recovery was long and difficult, but the peace, joy, and love of God he found on the day he faced death, is now with him in everything he does.
"There’s a peace and a love there that I can’t describe. It’s an entirely different way of living. I’ve never enjoyed living more. I understand now what’s really important. I want to live for God, and I pray that He’ll give me the opportunity to continue to do that."
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