Just before I give this testimony, I have one question. This question we all have to ask ourselves is: what value will you put on the breath that we have? We all have one breath, one life and it’s our choice about what we do with that one breath.
Dad brought me up to believe – if God’s real you’ll find out when you’re dead.
During August 1988, while in the Army, I was in a car accident where a drunk lady hit me side on. At the time I did not know I had a spirit and had no belief in God. I was taken to the operating theatre and knew I was dying. Suddenly I found myself above my own body, then in a black tunnel going down, feeling fear like I had never experienced! In this tunnel I had no control. I could see all these people and a flame here flame there. I was in a place I didn’t want to go. Somebody said “You don’t belong here Gary go back.” The thing that struck me was how did he know my name? I said “Oh God, one breath!” I didn’t know Jesus and before I finished that breath I was going back to my body. The presence that was taking me to hell stopped, put me back in my body. I came out with no broken bones, I couldn’t believe it.
I didn’t tell anyone about this in the army – they’ll think you’re on drugs or want a medical discharge. One day I was with this corporal who shared an identical testimony – it sent the hairs up on the back of my head. Then I felt comfortable to share with him my own experience. The corporal said “You’re going to think I’m mad Gary but I’m going to tell you the truth. Jesus didn’t die on a cross to make you religious he died on a cross to give you the Holy Spirit to give you life.” I just laughed at him. I thought he was on drugs, I thought he was mad. But what he said did not leave my belly it kept on going around and around.
Then what happened over a period of time everything got wiped away from me. I lost my house, my wife, my career in a matter of a few months. Everything was just wiped away. I was living in Como at the time and I was selling vacuums from door to door.
I won a holiday to the Gold Coast and when I got there I was surrounded by rich people. I was completely out of my league. I didn’t want to be around these people because everything felt so false and empty as everything was about desire and gain. I remember going up into the hotel, laying on the bed thinking ‘I’ve had it. I’ve got nowhere to go. I know no one. Life’s so empty.’ I had this hole in my belly I just could not fill. And all I could see was death. That’s all I could see.
While laying on the bed, I heard the voice of the Lord say “Reach over and open the cabinet.” That seemed strange, but I reached over and opened the door and there was a Bible. I opened the Bible – it was a Gideons Bible – and there I read “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Both comfort and despair came on me. It was just weird! I got in the lift, went down to where they have a pool and a section where you can have drinks. There’s a little spot where you can just sit there near the pool but you’re not swimming. This lady opposite me said: “How’s your day?” I said “Weird!” And she said “Do you know that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I thought something wrong’s with me here, I need help. I said “I don’t know what you have. I don’t know where you’re going today but can I follow you?” Strange question following a strange woman I don’t even know. I just asked her question after question after question until she said “You’ve got to stop Gary, I’ve got nothing more to give you.” I never saw her again.
I came back to Perth and was in my bedroom one night around eleven o’clock. This was in Como, overlooking the Swan River during summer in Perth. I got on my hands and knees and said “Lord, if you’re real you’ve got my life, and if not get lost! I don’t want to know about man, I don’t want to know about religion, I don’t want to know about church; I just want to know if you’re real.” And nothing happened. I went to bed depressed.
I was sharing a unit with friends of mine, Tony and Maria. The next morning – I’ll never forget this – I opened my eyes and this tangible presence of love and light filled my room, filled my being! It was the complete opposite of that tangible fear I’d experienced in the operating theatre. I opened up the curtains, and though it was broad daylight, the light in my room was lighter than the light outside. I closed the curtains thinking something’s wrong, it’s got to be an accident, it has to be the accident. I said to my friend Tony, can you see anything? He says “Er, no.” I said “You can’t see anything around me?” Because, all I could see was this tangible light and love.
I had this smile. I hadn’t smiled for years! The hole in my heart had had been completely filled. I couldn’t work out why I loved everything and everyone. His presence was following me everywhere! This went on for months and in the end, desperate to share what I was feeling, I rang up a radio station and I said everything I’m sharing with you now. The host was laughing on the phone. I said “Can I ask you why you’re laughing when this is a counselling line?” She said “I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with joy for you.” She continued “When Jesus said to His disciples don’t go anywhere, I’ll give you the Holy Spirit. The world would not see Him but you will because He will be in you.” She assured me that’s what happened, and He’s never left me since.
I can safely say without His breath in me I would be dead. And that’s the value I personally put on my breath. So, what’s the value you’re going to put on your breath?
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” – Psalm 100:1-5