My Lessons from Heaven: Death Is Not the End

Dr. Mary NealBy Dr. Mary Neal4 Minutes

Welcome to episode four of Strengthen Your Walk. I’m Dr. Mary Neal, the author of two New York Times best-selling books about my near-drowning on a South American river.

In previous episodes, I’ve shared insights about forgiveness and grace, and offered assurance that love always wins. In today’s episode, I’m going to talk about the fact that death is not the end.

Watch My Lessons from Heaven with Dr. Mary Neal

After moving through my life review, the force of the river began to pull my body over the front deck of my boat, which meant that my legs bent backward on themselves. I could feel them breaking — I’m an orthopedic surgeon — but I felt no pain. During this time, I could feel my spirit — the real me, my best me, my essence, my consciousness, my soul, or whatever else you want to call it, peel away from my physical body. Eventually, I broke free from my body and immediately began to rise up and out of the river.

But is this even possible?

Is our spiritual self actually different and separate from our physical one?

Scripture clearly paints a picture of this sort of separation. The creation story tells us that we became living souls only after God breathed our spirit into the body He had already made from the dust of the earth. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 tells us that we were created with three parts — a mind, a body, and a soul or spirit. And as my spirit was being pulled upward and out of the river, I could feel the water falling away and I could feel the warmth of the sun filling me up. When I was above the river, I was immediately greeted by a group of spirits, beings, people, or whatever other name you want to use.

Maybe they were part of the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews. I don’t know. But they were people who had known me and loved me as long as I have existed, and I knew they’d been important in my life story. Each one of these people were absolutely overjoyed to welcome me, guide me, and protect me.

Many people ask if I recognized these people. Who were they? They wonder if they will be recognized or if they’ll be able to recognize their own loved ones when they die. The answer to this wonderment and these questions is both “yes” and “no.” We will clearly recognize others, and we will be recognized. If not, how would Abraham be able to quote “gather up his people” or Jacob visit his son? But, personally, I didn’t specifically recognize anyone who came to greet me because there wasn’t anyone I would have recognized. At that point in my life, I hadn’t personally known anyone who had died — like a grandparent, neighbor, friend, or anyone like that.

But at this point in my life, I’ve lost a number of people that I love, and I’m confident that they will be there waiting for me with open arms when my time on earth is eventually done.

Our consciousness, our spirit, our soul, our eternal self, the divine breath of life that’s within our physical body does indeed survive. Death is not the end, and I’ll talk more about death in the next episode of Strengthen Your Walk.

Thank you for joining us today, and may God bless your mind, your heart, and your spirit.

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