I walked into a board meeting the other day and as a friend entered, he immediately said, “Hey, I read your book. Tell me more about when your best friend died while you were in high school.” I started recounting the story that makes up the majority of the chapter entitled, “Death’s Uninvited Entrance.” But what he was really interested in was how my friend seemingly had some type of pre-death premonition. It was subtle, but it was real.
My friend’s name was Jason and we were sitting out in a barn behind his house as eighteen-year-olds, drinking a few beers while talking about nothing and enjoying the afternoon. Then, out of the blue, Jason looked over and said, “Hot Dog (my nickname at the time), let’s go to church this weekend.”
“Church?”, I replied. “Yea, let’s go to church this Sunday. Sure wouldn’t hurt either one of us.”
“Sounds good,” I said sheepishly, and then we moved on to the next subject. It was strange because we had been friends for years and had never discussed anything substantive about church or faith, and at that time neither of us really attended, though Jason had some church background while I had none.
That had to be on a Monday or Tuesday, and on Thursday he was dead. He had been accidentally electrocuted by a faulty device in the prime of his life. I don’t remember how long it was before this sixty second exchange came back to me after witnessing his death, but it was certainly days, not weeks. Now, thirty years later, I still don’t know exactly how to interpret that event other than to know that either consciously or subconsciously, Jason turned his eyes towards things eternal just days before his death. I often wonder if it was also spoken for my benefit, to provide me with a small glimmer of hope in the midst of the tragedy that was coming my way as I buried my best friend. Perhaps it was all of that and more, or perhaps I am infusing too much meaning into it? Regardless, it happened and it had real impact in my life. It still does.
Now back to my friend who brought it up at the recent board meeting. He was asking because he had a best friend in third grade who was tragically killed in a car accident. Just one week before this eight-year-old child was killed, the two friends made a pact that if either of them ever died, the other would come to their funeral. My friend said he still remembers going to his friend’s funeral just one week after this extremely unique conversation between two third graders.
So what does it all mean? I certainly can’t explain it, but neither can I explain it away. Our translation from this earthly body out into eternity is a cataclysmic event in God’s eyes and I am sure it creates a ripple effect both before and after. And in instances like the above, it reminds us that eternity is not a far away concept that is only relevant at the moment of death, but rather “God has placed eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and we often see and hear it in our day to day lives if we are paying attention.
What about you? Have you had one of these experiences? If so, please comment below or reach out to me personally and tell me about your experiences with pre-death premonitions.