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Near Death Experience Puts Man Face-to-Face With God

Shannon Woodland


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“All the things that I thought were just some crazy, old legend.  It's real.  It's a dimension that exists.  Something far beyond anything I could have ever imagined was happening to me,” says Jim.

An ambitious, self-made man, Jim earned the nickname “Diamond Jim.”  He was focused on providing a life of luxury for his family.

According to his wife Lorraine, “Nothing was too big of a problem.  He could fix it.”

Jim says, “I thought that that was my way of showing her how much I loved her, and cared for our family, was by providing everything that I could.”  

But Lorraine, a Christian, prayed for something more.

Specifically, she prayed, “God please change his heart. Bring him to know Jesus Christ and just make a change in him and deal with this materialistic way.”

Over the years, the money and materialism had started to consume Jim, as he pulled away from his family.

Jim shares, “I'd wake up in the middle of the night and I would say to myself, ‘Is this all there is?’”  

At 61 years old, Jim was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre syndrome, a rare, incurable disease, resulting in chronic pain.

As Jim explains, it was “unremitting, electrical current pain in every part of my body, accompanied with paralyzing inability to move.”  

For the next five years, Jim relied on prescription meds to manage the pain.  

Lorraine says, “He was just getting to be a very angry person.  The pain was just consuming him.”  

Jim says, “Never once, and this speaks to the arrogance, did I reach inside or look up to the sky and say, "God, if you exist, help me out here."  Not me, not Diamond Jim.”

In April 2014, Lorraine said a desperate prayer for Jim’s heart.

She shares, “I said, ‘God, I've been praying, but I haven't seen any change.  Maybe you just have to break him to remake him.’  But be careful what you pray for.”

Later that month, after taking more than four times his dosage, Jim went to inspect a field he was planning to sell.  He says while sitting in his truck, he felt a growing burning sensation in his legs.

He says, “And suddenly I realized I couldn't breathe.  And it was as though the cab of the truck was filling with water.  As I'm about to draw my last breathe from somewhere inside of me that I didn’t even know existed...I cried out ‘God! Forgive me! Forgive me!’”

When Jim didn’t come home, Lorraine called the police.  He was found in his truck, unresponsive, and was rushed to the hospital.  Lorraine rallied friends and family to pray.

She remembers, “The head doctor come out, and he said, ‘Your husband is severely brain damaged.  There's-there's no brain activity there.’  And he said, uh ‘We have him on full life support because uh his organs have all shut down.’  He said, ‘There is no way to bring him back.’

Lorraine continues, “I was apologizing for...for praying, what I prayed, but I didn't know it would come to this.”  

There was something else she didn’t know.  Since the attack, Jim had been experiencing a very different reality.

Jim explains, “I look to the right and there's this incredible vista of beautiful flowers and meadows.  And I turned my vision to the left and that-that beautiful green grass went from green to brown to scorched to black and dropped off in a crevasse.  I saw the most hideous creature you could ever imagine.  And I fell back in-in-in abject terror.  The look of hatred in its eyes, for me and all of mankind.  But at this point I turned toward the light and I raised both hands this time, and I cried out ‘God, help me. Help me!’”

Then, Jim says three angels came, and took him through heaven.  He says, “I realized I was looking at none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  And He looked at me with those violet eyes, and all I heard was, ‘James, what did you do with the life my Master gave you?’  I had no answer...But as I looked into His eyes and He smiled at me. He smiled at me.  He knew me.  I saw such intense love and forgiveness for me, for me who deserved nothing.  And that was the moment...I was His forever. Whatever was about to become of me, I was His.  I-I-I loved Him and He loved me.”

Jim says he wanted to stay, but Jesus had other plans for him.

Jim says Jesus told him, “‘Go back and tell your brothers and sisters of the wonders we have shown you.’  Suddenly I'm in a cold hospital room on a gurney, screaming at the top of my lungs.  Scared the daylights out of some of the nurses!”

Lorraine remembers, “A nurse came out and said, ‘Mrs. Woodford, can you come here with me?’  And I thought, ‘He's gone.’”

Jim says, “And I’m just overwhelmed that I’m seeing Lorraine again.  I said, ‘L-Lorraine, I-I saw Jesus, and Jesus has horses.’”

Lorraine explains, “The more I could talk to him and know that he was sane, I knew God had restored him.”

Lorraine realized God had also answered her prayer to “break Jim to remake him.”

She says, “He was focused on Jesus.  And he became much gentler.”   

And while Jim still has the markers of Guillan-Barre syndrome, he has been completely pain-free.  Today, Jim is intent on telling everyone he can about salvation in Jesus Christ.

He says, “You have to open the door of your heart to let Him in, and the door of my heart has now been opened.”

Get Jim's book, Heaven, an Unexpected Journey: One Man's Experience with Heaven, Angels, and the Afterlife.

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About The Author

Shannon Woodland

At 25 years old, while living in Seattle, Shannon heard God say, "Go tell My story." She’s been with The 700 Club as a Features Producer for over 30 years. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, Tim, and two dogs.

About The Author

Danielle Thompson

Ever since high school, Danielle has been finding ways to tell stories for the screen. She hopes her work inspires others with messages of truth and grace. In addition to CBN, her media work includes films, documentaries, and most recently a music video. Living in her native state of Georgia, she is married to Adam, and they have one daughter.