Jim Anderson: Heaven Can Wait
By Matt Vilkas and Shannon Woodland
The 700 Club
"I felt like I was fading away ... The next thing I knew, off in the distance, I saw a white light."
Jim Anderson was dying from a massive heart attack. The only signs of trouble came a year earlier, but his doctor called his symptoms “stress related.” Jim was working 12 hour days as a supervisor at a waste water treatment plant. But this time, Jim knew it was much more than stress.
"I was resting in my bedroom and all of a sudden, I had a crushing pain in my chest; and the pain radiated down my arm and up the side of my neck," Jim said. "I couldn’t catch my breath. And I called to my daughter and said, 'You’re going to have to get me to the hospital. I’m not going to make it.' ”
A balloon catheter was inserted into his artery. He was stabilized and placed on a heart transplant list. But two days later, Jim flat lined.
Jim remembers, "I could see everyone rushing into the room, but I couldn’t hear the alarms going off. It’s like I had gone under water. The hearing had just faded away. That’s when I began to pray. I knew I was dying. It wasn’t a scared praying. It was earnest."
"As I prayed it got darker ‘til the point it went black," Jim said. "The next thing I knew, off in the distance, I saw a white light. It was beautiful. It just wasn’t blinding, but pure and perfect. As I started to go towards the light, I could see the out; the outer edge of it begins to spiral. And I couldn’t figure out what that was. But as I got closer, I could see it was the words of prayers revolving. The words broke off, going into the light. And I followed into the light."
"The next thing I felt was being embraced ... safe and secure. It felt wonderful. It felt like total love," Jim said.
"Next thing I knew, I was looking down at the room where my body was.
I could see everyone working on me. I could hear what they were saying. There were two nurses outside of the room looking in. One said to the other, 'Why are they working so hard? He’s gone. If they do bring him back, he’ll be a vegetable.' I later on told her what she said. She about passed out."
Then Jim thought to himself, "Where’s Debbie?"
Then, instantly he was in the room where she was.
Jim's wife, Debbie recalled, "I had just gotten finished with that prayer. You know, 'He’s yours, Lord,' because I knew that was the only way he was coming back to us...if God wanted him to."
Jim remembered, "When she did that, I zoomed right in on her face. And when I saw her face, I saw every aspect of our life together; from the first day we met, our marriage, the birth of our children, all the emotions we’ve shared ... I couldn’t leave her. I just couldn’t leave her."
"I cried out to the Lord and said, 'Lord, I love you so much, but please let me go back.' I said, 'My wife needs me, my children need me so much, so much. Please let me go back.' ”
The doctors and nurses didn’t give up. They shocked Jim so many times that the flesh on his chest was burned.
Then the doctors heard a heart beat.
"I came back to a world of pain," Jim said. "They shocked me so many times. It’s like coming back out of the water. My hearing came back. I could hear them telling me, 'I can’t believe he’s back ... he’s back!' They said, 'Can you hear me?' And I took that first breath on my own. Have you ever tasted honeysuckle? That’s exactly what that first breath tasted like. It was so sweet, so wonderful. And I just thanked the Lord."
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Jim was alive... but his heart still wasn’t functioning properly.
"They put him into a coma, a medical coma, to allow his body to heal. So, I wasn’t able to talk to him for days," Debbie said.
Jim spent the next 17 days in intensive care. He flat lined several more times. And each time, Jesus asked him a question…
"The subsequent times that I arrested and would go towards the light, He would ask, 'Are you sure this is what you want?' And each time I would ask to come back," Jim said.
Jim woke up from his medical-induced coma. His heart increased in function -- from five percent to 30 percent. He no longer needed a heart transplant.
"It was a long process, but basically it was good to hear his voice again," Debbie said.
His doctor implanted a pace maker in his chest. Just a couple days later, Jim was able to make it home in time for his daughter’s graduation. One doctor told Jim he only had a year to live. That was over seven years ago.
"It’s brought us closer together ... so much closer together. We talk about things now, and it’s whatever needs to be done for the day, it’s done. You know, we don’t focus on things that are trivial," Debbie said.
Jim knows that every day he has with his family is a blessing from Jesus Christ.
"I try to witness to at least one person a day ... to let them know this isn’t about me ... it’s about their life! And to know that He is there for them, and He loves them," Jim said.
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