Some Things I Learned When I Died

The Day I Died

Lesson #1: Friends Come and Go But Enemies Rise To the Occasion

When the bottom drops out of life it becomes apparent who is lined up on your side…and who is passing you a holy hand grenade for your journey. The term “Enemy” might be too strong here. Often people don’t mean to kill and maim. The bad stuff happens accidentally because relationships aren’t shored up.

In my near-death disaster, people lined up to “help” Janie through my medical crisis (the aftermath of my aorta being pierced twice in a botched surgical procedure…I literally bled to death over a 75-minute period with a blood pressure of 30/10). Some of these “friends” were more like those of Job. To quote Bugs Bunny, “With friends like these, who needs enemies!”


On the first night of this meltdown, when I was at my most critical state and on the verge of death, it was apparent I needed to be transferred to a larger, regional hospital. Obvious. Clear as could be. I didn’t need a medical background to see that I was dying and needed to be moved quickly. Amazingly a few in the crowd argued with Janie that it would be best if I were left at the tiny community hospital. Tragically a couple of those outspoken voices were ones who served closely on staff with me.

“Now Janie, don’t you think it would be best to keep Steve here for a few days? Let us take care of these details for you since you are under so much stress…” Janie’s response? “We are moving Steve. And by the way, when Steve recovers and hears about your response he is going to be very POed.” (She was right on both counts.) I was transferred in spite of this huddle. The doctors at the regional unit said I would have died within 12 hours without the needed trauma care they provided.

Under Pressure

High-stress settings–times of great loss–bring out the best in some but the worst in others. What gives? What causes unexplainable levels of weirdness at times of stress like this? Our response depends on how well we have done with our heart work leading up to the crisis. If we have kept short accounts we tend to do well. If we have been lax, a meltdown like this is probable. Consider this:


Perhaps you hold this in your heart now toward someone. God forbid that a crisis strike before you deal with it. Latent unresolved feelings lurch forward under stress. Deal with your negative feelings now before a crisis strikes. A crisis will happen sooner or later.


There is some lack of clarity going on in ALL of your relationships. That is the reality for all the sons and daughters of Adam. Deal with it now while it is small and manageable. Clarify. Start with, “I want to walk in peace with you.


Selfish ambition is evil. We may legitimize it as goal setting or vision but that’s just a cover-up for our problem with our need to seek to control all that goes on around us. God will eventually deal with us. Sometimes through a looming crisis if we insist it comes down to that. He is the Controller. You are not. You only appeared to be in charge for a brief time.


What’s a big deal and what’s not? Very seldom does something come along that is worth getting up in arms about. Don’t let the little things accumulate. Shed yourself of those matters every now and then. It is a sin to carry feelings of ill-will about. When examined such matters nearly always ridiculous. It’s embarrassing that we ever thought this was a matter worth getting upset about.

Lesson #2

Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.


  1. So, was there resolution with he job like friends?

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