Ian's glimpse of eternity after jellyfish sting
A man who technically died for 20 minutes told a Norwich audience how he glimpsed eternity after a ’fatal’ accident while night fishing off the coast of Mauritius. Mike Wiltshire reports.
Ian McCormack told how he had been stung by five Cubo-Medusan Boxer Jellyfish, the second most deadly creature known to man. One sting could kill in four minutes.
Staggering ashore, Ian, then 24, fought for his life, unaware that his Christian mum in New Zealand had suddenly seen her son’s face - and prayed earnestly for him around that very moment.
Paralysed and dying, Ian was rushed to hospital. There, he had visions of heaven and hell - and although an atheist, he cried out half-forgotten phrases from the Lord’s Prayer.
What happened next was a life-changing experience in which Ian says that Jesus empowered him to live - “so that he might tell his story to others.”
Doctors had even issued a death certificate, but Ian came back to life on a slab in the morgue 20 minutes after he had been declared dead by medical staff. He was paralyzed from the neck down, but he prayed to be healed and walked out of the hospital the next day.
It was the start of a remarkable adventure of faith which has been told in film and on TV and to audiences around the world. Ian’s remarkable story is also the theme of a recent feature film, The Perfect Wave, starring Scott Eastwood (son of Clint Eastwood).
Speaking at a Norwich dinner earlier this month, Ian said his remarkable life-after-death experience was as vivid today as when it happened 30 years ago.
“No matter how many things you have done wrong, you can cry out to God and He will hear you," he said.
Ian recalled how in his dying moments he struggled to remember the words in the Lord’s Prayer about the need to forgive others – and he felt a desperate need to forgive those who had hurt him. "With surrender and humility came incredible peace," said Ian. "I was changed forever and the presence of God has never left me.
"Comfort, peace and extraordinary joy came as waves of unconditional love and acceptance hit me. The love I had for my family was just a thimbleful in comparison. There was no fear of judgment, my sins were forgiven and forgotten, causing me to cry for the first time since I was l4.
"I saw the form of a man who was radiant and dazzling white - the light of the universe was shining out of his face. I felt the innocence of a small child returning; I felt holy. There was also a new earth - a crystal clear river and beautiful rolling hills," said Ian.
Ian said he initially had fearful glimpses of hell. "I could feel the evil; it was all around me but I had given my life to the Shepherd of men's souls when I prayed from the heart - and it couldn’t touch me. I felt like a speck of dust being drawn up into a radiant light and delivered out of the kingdom of darkness."
After his experience, Ian read the Bible in six weeks. “We can’t clean ourselves up for salvation – we need God," said Ian, who is now an ordained minister and visited 60 nations to tell his story.
Today, Ian and his wife Jane have three children. Five years ago, the couple became leaders at the King’s Gate Church in London. In Norwich, Ian was guest speaker at the Christmas dinner of the Full Gospel Businessmen at the Brook Hotel, Bowthorpe.
Pictured above is Ian McCormack.