3 Observations About an Encounter With the Living God


What if you alone survived a horrific accident? What if, during the three days you remained in a coma, you glided into eternity then later awoke to find yourself in a hospital bed with no recollection of the past 72 hours—not the accident, nor the ambulance ride, nor the surgery, nor the flight to heaven?

Charred remains of a crash where pilot and friend survived.

You remembered none of it.

Until later.

Much, much later.

And only in disjointed fragments.

Except for those three days in a coma.

When you did remember …

…you remembered it all in one continuous, uninterrupted flow.

Capt. Dale Black shares his survival story in Flight to Heaven, a read that I’d highly recommend.

What I want to focus on are the thoughts stirred up as I read this book.

1) When you encounter the living God, you change. Whether you travel to heaven or remain earthbound, encountering God makes you a different person—deeper with a greater perspective.

Think about the people in Scripture who encountered God. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Isaiah, Mary, Peter, Thomas, Paul, Lydia—they changed. They moved, took on great challenges, opened their homes, and opened their hearts to His influence.

Dale Black, before he remembered anything, felt a deeper love for people. He wept for strangers. He spoke more about Jesus Christ. He offered his life in service to God, the gospel, and people around the world. He changed.

He wrote, “There had been a Copernican shift in my thinking. Before the crash, I was the center of my solar system. Everything orbited around me and for me. Now I was a lesser planet that orbited around something bigger than myself. And that something bigger was the one true God.”

2) When you encounter the living God, you experience community. As Dale approached heaven’s gates, he met people who, from the start, loved him deeply.

When a copilot received Christ, Dale said, “You know, we’re brothers now.”

Steve, the copilot, said, “What? What do you mean?”

“Well, when two people have invited Jesus Christ into their lives, it means that they are both re-born children of God. That makes you and I brothers in Christ.”

“Wow, Dale, You know, I don’t really have any close family.”

“Well, now you have millions of brothers—and millions of sisters—in Christ, all over the world.”

Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:14-15 NIV)

Paul wrote, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.And by him we cry, ‘Abba,Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14-16 NIV)

3) When you encounter the living God, you encounter His character.God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5b NIV). “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17 NIV).

Love pervades.

Light radiates.

Truth prevails.

Where we allow God to speak and to act in our lives, these qualities emerge in the midst of community.

I’m curious. How has life changed for you as you have encountered the living God? What aspect of His character has captivated you?

Recommended reading (warning: the video is dangerous):

Kisses from Katie blog (God at work in Africa through a young woman’s life)

Top 3 Posts the last 7 days:

My Novel “Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes” Debuts

Why I Need to Listen to My Wife (And Other Wise People)

What Happens in a Distant Country?

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About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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4 Responses to 3 Observations About an Encounter With the Living God

  1. Kari Scare says:

    God has done so much in my life. My most recent encounter, well the one I have been reflecting in the most lately, is how He has balanced my life. When I realized that He is the scale by which we balance all else and not just another item to be balanced, my life took a decided turn toward amazing balance. As I stay focused on Him that balance is simple to maintain. He so perfectly guides and conducts my life… When I let Him.

    • tnealtarver says:

      That lines up well with what I read in “Flight Plan.” Dale Black experienced a strong sense of timing and harmony, i.e. balance, during his 3-day-coma-induced heavenly visit.

  2. Pingback: What’s Your Pleasure? | A Curious Band of Others

  3. Pingback: A Plea for More Prayer | A Curious Band of Others

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