March 28, 2024

They Died and Met God. But Which God?

Inside This Episode

Best-selling author and near-death experiences aficionado John Burke returns to Maybe God for a second deep dive into reported glimpses into the afterlife. In his latest book “Imagine The God of Heaven”, John details the shocking evidence that supports NDEs and discusses how people from various religious traditions all seem to encounter the same, biblical God. Also, the stories of a surgeon and a commercial airline pilot, both indifferent to the existence of God, until they were pronounced clinically dead and found themselves at the gates of heaven – and hell. What do their experiences reveal about the character of God?

Want to share your thoughts? Send an email to [email protected]!

A special thanks to Jubilee Prison Ministry for sponsoring this episode of Maybe God! 

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Eric Huffman: On this episode of Maybe God, Imagine Heaven author John Burke is back.

John Burke: What so many near-death experiencers I interviewed said is, of all the wonders, the beauty of heaven, the reunions of heaven, the mysteries of heaven, but nothing compared, nothing, to being in the presence of God.

Eric Huffman: After decades of researching the commonalities of over a thousand near-death testimonies, John's latest work helps us to understand what these experiences reveal not just about heaven, but about the character of God.

Also, the stories of a surgeon and a commercial airline pilot, both indifferent to the existence of God until they were pronounced clinically dead and found themselves at the gates of heaven and hell.

Dr. Mary Neal: I had this complete understanding of how everything worked, how it can actually be true that God knows each and every one of the billions of us on this planet, how He can love each and every one of us as though we're the only ones.

Jim Woodford: Darkness and evil cannot exist in the light of God. And that is what so many of us have forgotten. If you have the light of God in you, you are untouchable. And I'm not talking about going to church once in a while. I'm talking about having God in your heart 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the rest of your life. Darkness cannot touch you.

Eric Huffman: That's all today on Maybe God.

[00:01:25] <music>

Eric Huffman: You're listening to Maybe God. I'm Eric Huffman. Even as our culture has grown more skeptical and non-religious, people can't stop thinking about the afterlife. Church attendance and membership are at all-time lows, but our curiosity about heaven and hell remains ubiquitous, as evidenced by the popularity of recent shows like The Good Place, Black Mirror, and the Netflix drama called After Life.

Further evidence of our ongoing fascination with life beyond death is the fact that all across the world, more people than ever are sharing their stories about near-death experiences, or NDEs.

I admit that before getting to know today's guest, I was very skeptical of NDEs. I chalked up these phenomena to neurological misfires or even to wishful thinking. But John Burke changed all of that for me.

Over the past 30 years, John has studied over a thousand near-death experiences from dozens of countries and cultures, and his findings have transformed the way that I, and millions of other people, think about the afterlife.

I first discovered John's book, Imagine Heaven, in 2018, and soon after that, we featured him in a two-part episode of the Maybe God podcast. Even now, almost six years later, that two-part episode is the one that our listeners talk about the most.

John recently released another book called Imagine the God of Heaven, so I invited him to come and speak at my church in Houston. And after the last service ended, we sat down for an interview in the Maybe God studio. Having just read Imagine the God of Heaven, I told John how surprised I was that his follow-up book was even more compelling than the original.

John Burke: Yeah, because, you know, it's about God. What so many near-death experiencers I interviewed said is, of all the wonders, the beauty of heaven, the reunions of heaven, the mysteries of heaven, but nothing compared, nothing, to being in the presence of God.

Eric Huffman: After John's first book became a New York Times bestseller, selling millions of copies around the world, He took a break from writing and focused on leading his large congregation in Austin, Texas.

John Burke: In COVID, the Lord made it really clear to me that He did want me to write again, and He wanted me to write about Him, which was kind of overwhelming, like, who am I?

Eric Huffman: Right.

John Burke: But what He reminded me is, you know, it's not about me. I'm just a reporter. He's given me this kind of crazy... I'll admit, it's kind of weird, but an obsession for 35 years of studying these experiences and trying to reconcile them with scripture. So He made it clear that I could pass the baton of leadership at Gateway, and this is what he was calling me to. And Imagine the God of Heaven just came out. It's cool. It's already a bestseller.

Eric Huffman: Oh, dude, amazing.

John Burke: It's amazing because I'm speaking literally all over the world right now. And I think that's the why, because I think He wants people all over the world to know what He's doing. And as you know, in Imagine the God of Heaven, there's 70 that I've interviewed on every continent and they are testifying to the same God, even if that's not what was in their culture or in their religious background. And I think He's showing that He has always been the God of all nations.

But at the same time, what I'm trying to show is something I think is very important is that God didn't just all of a sudden show up in the age of modern medical resuscitation. The same God who these people experience around the globe, He's been revealing Himself throughout history all along and put it down through the Jewish prophets, foretold what He was gonna do through Jesus, and He wants to be known.

Eric Huffman: I think that's a really important point. I've heard you say that these NDEs are an example of experiences adding color to what the Bible has already told us about the nature and character of God. And I really appreciate that sort of wording.

Before we get any further, let's kind of take a step back and make sure we're bringing everybody along with us. Where did this obsession or passion about NDE start?

John Burke: For me, it started all the way back when I was an agnostic. I thought Jesus was probably just a legend. I didn't know about God. I had a lot of questions. I ended up studying engineering at the University of Texas and worked as an engineer. So I've always been analytical, quizzical. Like why? How do you know? That was always my angle.

Then my dad got cancer and someone gave him the very first book on research on near-death experiences. I saw it as bedside table, picked it up, start reading it, couldn't put it down. And by the end of it, I was like, "Whoa, this could actually be evidence, like what I've been asking for: How do you know? This could be evidence that this heaven God stuff might be real."

So many of them talked about seeing this God of light, some of them Jesus. I didn't become a believer, but I was open. Then I started reading the Bible, I started asking my questions in groups, and then I finally came to realize, for actually very different reasons than near-death experiences, that there is a ton of evidence that God has really revealed Himself in history. And I weave that into the new book as well.

Eric Huffman: Yeah, it's amazing. Let's sort of offer a definition for near-death experiences because there's a wide range of different kinds of supernatural phenomena that sort of fit the bill but might not. What is an NDE?

John Burke: I mean there are all kinds of experiences. Because I am a cynic and a skeptic at heart too, I focused in on the ones that it's clinical death. So when people clinically die, you know, your heart stops beating and within a minute, you have no brainwaves — your brainwaves cease. And yet these people are resuscitated either by modern medicine, some cases miracle, some a few minutes, but some hours and hours.

And when they come back, they report being more alive than they ever were in a body still that was like they were themselves completely. In fact, some people say even more myself in a place more real than this. Which I had a guy come up to me today after the service, several who had had near-death experiences and said that exact thing.

Eric Huffman: How many?

John Burke: Four.

Eric Huffman: Four people from one Sunday morning came and told you this?

John Burke: Yeah.

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: Well, and that's the other thing people don't realize. Gallup did a poll in the late 80s of Americans and found that one out of 25 Americans has had a near-death experience. Recently, in 2019, the European Academy of Neurology reported a study across 35 countries that showed that 5%, 1 out of 20 people in 35 countries have had a near-death experience.

That's why I think it's so important to make sense of them because this is not just like a weirdo blip out there. This is millions of people. But they don't often talk about it. And the reason it's so hard for them to talk about is how do you explain something more real than this?

The way I explain it to people who haven't had a near-death experience after interviewing so many is by analogy. So imagine right now we're living a three-dimensional experience.

Eric Huffman: Sure.

John Burke: But imagine if we were living this experience actually on a flat, two-dimensional black and white painting in your room. And death means separation. So at death, your two-dimensional self is peeled off that flat painting and brought out into this three-dimensional room of color that was around you all the time, you just couldn't perceive of it because you didn't have a third dimension. And now you're experiencing three dimensions of color. You're more alive than you were in your flat world, and you can see your flat world for what it is, because it's a part of this bigger realm. Then you're pressed back into the flat world, and now you have to explain three dimensions of color, but in two-dimensional black and white terms.

Eric Huffman: What would you say?

John Burke: Well, when I use that analogy with them, they say, Oh, absolutely, that's it. Because what they're experiencing is multidimensional to our dimensionality.

Eric Huffman: Does it depress them to go back into the painting?

John Burke: Usually.

Eric Huffman: Really?

John Burke: Usually. I've met a few who wanted to go back, but most begged to stay.

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: And the Lord tells them, "No, you still have a purpose to fulfill. You have to go back," and sends them back. In some cases, He gives them a choice.

Eric Huffman: What's the scientific explanation? How does science maybe answer some of the questions you're writing about in the book? How does science explain it away?

John Burke: Alternate explanations. In chapter two of Imagine the God of Heaven, this new book, I go through the 10 points of evidence that convince me, but not just me, many skeptical medical doctors believe that this shows proof of consciousness surviving death.

Eric Huffman: Really?

John Burke:  One is verifiable observations. What people say is when they first die they leave their body, they still have a spiritual body, and initially, they're often up above their body observing the resuscitation or what's happening in the room.

An example of this would be, in the new book, there's a woman in London who dies giving childbirth and she's up above her body and then she goes through a tunnel in this beautiful place. She's with God. She doesn't want to come back, but He says, "No, you need to go back. Your son, Michael, is going to live."

And as she's coming back, she comes through the ceiling toward her body and she sees on the top side of a ceiling fan a red sticker. And she comes back into her body, she sees them shocking her twice. She comes to, and she starts trying to tell the doctors and nurses of this incredible experience and nobody believes her. They think it's just psychosis or whatever.

Finally, she gets a nurse to listen and she said, "Look, I'll prove it to you. Get a ladder and go look on the top side of that ceiling fan and you'll find a sticker, a red sticker. And this is what it says on the sticker." And the nurse and an [inaudible 00:12:12] see it and they're like, "It was there."

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: And these verifiable observations that they make have been studied. For instance, Dr. Janice Holden did a study of around 100 patients who had cardiac arrest and claimed to have a near-death experience. And they each made observations about what was happening in the room of their resuscitation. Well, what she found is 92% of their observations were completely accurate.

Eric Huffman: Accurate, meaning?

John Burke: It was exactly what actually happened when they verified with the doctors and the nurses. Another 6% were mostly accurate. Only 2% were inaccurate. Turns out that was one of the patients. So you've got verifiable observations. That ties it to this real world. It's not just a hallucination.

Eric Huffman: Yeah, there's a lot that doesn't make sense about a materialistic, let's say, explanation of these phenomena. I mean, not least of which is the fact that blind people see things accurately.

John Burke: Well, and that's another point of evidence that I write about because, you know, I have, I think, three or four blind people in Imagine the God of Heaven. So not only do they see in their near-death experience, but they see the same things sighted people do. So let me give you an example.

Eric Huffman: Okay.

John Burke: So, near-death experiencers commonly say that in this heavenly realm, light isn't like light like we experience light. It's light that is palpable, light that is life and love. And blind people say the light was coming out of things, out of the trees, out of the flowers, out of the birds, even out of the people. Isaiah 60 says there is no sun or moon in heaven because God is its light.

Eric Huffman: That's it, yeah.

John Burke: Revelation 21, John says there's no sun or moon because the glory of God is its light and Jesus the Lamb is its lamp and the nations will walk in that light. As well, Jesus in John 13 said, then the righteous will shine like the stars in their Father's kingdom forever. So even this light coming out of people, it's the glory of God that we share in. It's the life and love of God giving life to everything.

Now, how would a blind person know to say that? Because they would not have heard that light shines out of everything. They would have heard light shines on things.

Eric Huffman: Sure.

John Burke: One blind person in Imagine the God of Heaven, Debbie, in her near-death experience, she sees her mom come in to rescue her. She's able to later say what her mom looked like and was wearing.

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: She was wearing a robe and it was a dark color. She didn't know what color. She said, "Yeah, it was my black robe." Then she travels again to this heavenly places with God who tells her she's got to go back. She's going to have children. She was told she couldn't have children. She did have children, but she came back. But she met her grandmother who she had never met because her grandmother died when she was a young child. And she comes back and she describes to her mom what her grandmother looked like. And her mom said, "Yeah, that's right, but when she was 30."

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: Well, that's another commonality that people in heaven are typically in their prime about their 30s.

Eric Huffman: That's good news.

John Burke: Yeah. 29 was a good year for me. I like that.

Eric Huffman: Way better than 45.

John Burke: Try 60.

Eric Huffman: My favorite one was the guy in surgery and the doctors were telling unseemly jokes about him or something. He came back and told him the jokes that they were saying, they were caught red-handed.

John Burke: Yeah, it was Dr. Rajiv Parti. So that's a fascinating one because he was a chief anesthesiologist at the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. He had seen many people come back from anesthesia talking about a near-death experience and just would give him a shot of an anti-psychotic drug. He just thought it was nonsense. And then he had one and none of the doctors believed him.

His is fascinating because truly his was like a Damascus Road encounter like the Apostle Paul had. The Apostle Paul didn't believe in Jesus. He was persecuting Christians, having them arrested when he's on the way to Damascus and the same brilliant God of light that appears to NDEs around the world appears to Saul.

What's fascinating is that happened to Dr. Parti, almost exactly. So he goes from initially having a hellish experience and crying out, he said, in repentance to God, and then being taken by these two, he said, Christian angels. They were angels that are from the Bible.

And he's taken to this beautiful place in front of this God of light who's brighter than the sun by a thousand times, he said, and full of love for him. And he said, "I want you to see your life again." And then Dr. Parti has a life review where he sees that he had become abusive toward his son and he'd gotten addicted to painkillers and alcoholism, all kinds of other things, and he thought, "God's gonna send me back to hell." But instead he said, "I'm gonna send you back and you need to make changes." And he goes back.

And he said, interestingly, "I had the thought that that was Jesus." He said, "If not, it's this God who understands all of our weaknesses and that we're not perfect, but is willing to forgive us." He grew up Hindu.

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: And it doesn't make any sense. And yet all over the globe, people are encountering the same God of light, of love. Now, I want to say something because I think sometimes this really bothers people because they hear it almost like, Oh, well, you're saying you're right and we're wrong. And it's not that at all. And part of why I wrote this is I think a lot of Christians get it wrong. Because they don't understand that God uniquely loves every person, and He is with every person. He's as close as their heart turning to Him.

You know, Joel said, "All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, will be set right with God." And that really is what He was doing through Jesus. He was making a way that in our broken, evil world where we all sin, we all turn away from God, and yet He holds out forgiveness for every person. The only thing that can keep us away from God is our pride. Just saying, "I don't want you. I don't need your forgiveness. I got it."

Eric Huffman: I do appreciate that word because I think it's easy for Christians to hear this and kind of spike the football, like, you know, we were right all along. And that's obviously not why you wrote these books, and it's not an appropriate response to these phenomena at all. However, I am curious to know whether there's been any research done that reveals any of the reverse happening, where Christians die and meet Vishnu the Hindu goddess, or meet Muhammad the prophet.

John Burke: So here's the interesting thing, is if you just go read near-death experiences, you will hear people saying, "You know, oh, I encountered this god or this goddess." But I point out that there's a difference between what people report and how they interpret what they report. And that's a very important distinction.

I'll give an example. I have multiple people who grew up Hindu in the book who encountered Jesus. Santosh is another one who he's taken by this God of light and he describes the holy city of God just like in Revelation 21, yet he had zero background in the Bible. And then I told you he comes back and he starts reading the Bible. He's like, "Everything I experienced was in there." And he becomes a follower of Jesus.

An even better example, Nia was also Hindu by background, but she was in Africa when she ended up going into a lion's cage with a trainer, but the lioness actually mauled her, bit her head. She leaves her body and she says, "There was this glow, like the sun, like the morning dawn, and that took me to this place of incredible beauty." And she said, "God definitely exists." And she comes back okay.

And then she says, "I encountered Durga Maa, the goddess Durga. Now, Durga is described as a beautiful woman riding a tiger with 12 arms and weapons in the arm. That's not who she saw. She saw the same God of light and love. Then she said, "I came back with a knowledge of Christianity and Jesus, which I didn't have before." Why Jesus? But this is consistent.

So to answer your question, no, I really haven't. I haven't heard people actually report experiencing what they would expect of another God or goddess, but they do experience this God of light who is love and personal, not an impersonal force, knows them personally. Things they forgot about their life, God shows them in their life review. And what they come back consistently saying is, God is love, and how we love and treat one another is what God cares about most.

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: Well, that's what Moses said.

Eric Huffman: Cover to cover, baby.

John Burke: Jesus said, love God, love your neighbor, that sums up the whole Bible.

Eric Huffman: Right. Let's talk a little bit more about the qualities of this God that people experience. What other characteristics stood out to you when you started listening closely?

John Burke: Words like omniscient. It means all-knowing. Well, in the life review, people experience God's omniscience. At other points, they say they look into His eyes and suddenly every question they ever had was answered. His eminence, meaning He is in everything. He's everywhere and everything, and He's infinite.

So when you hear these NDEs talk about the experience of that, it brings meaning to it. I can trust this God because He does have it all under control. He's big enough to have it all under control. He does hear all our prayers.

[00:22:45] <music>

Dr. Mary Neal: I absolutely know that how and what you think about death profoundly impacts how and what you think about life and how you experience every day.

Eric Huffman: Dr. Mary Neal from Jackson Hole, Wyoming lived a mostly agnostic life before she had her own near-death experience back in 1999.

Dr. Mary Neal: I grew up going to Sunday school and confirmation and youth group and all that stuff, but that didn't really mean I had faith.

Eric Huffman: Like most science-minded people, Mary was always deeply skeptical of anything that she couldn't observe empirically. And by the time that she was in her 30s, a wife, mother of four, and accomplished orthopedic surgeon, Mary admits that she felt too intelligent and self-reliant to need God at all.

Dr. Mary Neal: When my youngest son was old enough that I thought my husband and I could leave town without our kids, we decided to go down to Chile and go kayaking. This is something that we did routinely. We have dear friends who are professional boaters and so we decided to go to Chile with them, and we spent a week kayaking.

On what was going to be our final date, we decided to paddle a section of river that's well known for its waterfalls. I'm talking about drops of 15 to 20 feet, which is something that is challenging and exhilarating, but was well within our skill set. And when we came to the most significant drop of the day, we decided to paddle a smaller channel. But as I approached that channel, it was blocked by another kayaker who had sort of become wedged. So my only option was to go over the main part of the waterfall.

As I went over it, I could see tremendous turbulence at the bottom. And I hit the bottom, and the front end of my boat became stuck in the rocks. And the boat and I were then completely submerged under 8 to 10 feet of water. And that was the beginning of the greatest gift I've ever been given.

I knew that the likelihood of rescue was slim and I made a choice. And I asked that God's will be done, regardless of what it meant. Now, normally, we say the Lord's Prayer, but we don't really mean it but I truly meant it. I knew that that would potentially mean my death.

And the moment I asked that, I was immediately overcome with a very physical sensation of being held and comforted and reassured by Jesus that everything was fine. I knew it was Jesus. I didn't have to ask. And then we went through a life review that really had nothing to do with judgment and everything to do with God's grace and God's absolute love and understanding and knowledge of all of us. Every one of us. Knows us thoroughly, knows our backstory, knows every negative part of who we are and what we've done, but loves us purely anyway.

And as that was happening, I also then felt my body coming over the front deck of the boat, and I could feel my spirit separating from my body. And I rose up and went out of the river, and I was greeted by a group of people, spirits, beings. And those words still kind of make me think, Oh, man, this is crazy. But it was real. More real than anything I've experienced here on Earth. And they knew me and loved me and were so overjoyed to welcome me home. Truly, I was absolutely overcome by this feeling of being home. Everything you can dream of that home should be, that's what this was.

I could see and experience and understand every color of the universe, and some I've never seen here, all at the same time. And I was taking down this incredibly beautiful pathway to this kind of great dome structure of sorts, and I knew that this threshold, this archway was the point of no return. And I was on this threshold for what felt like many hours.

During that time, I had this complete understanding of the divine order, how everything works, how it can actually be true that God knows each and every one of the billions of us on this planet, how He can love each and every one of us as though we're the only ones. And I can't explain how it works, but I can assure you that it does, and that God really, really does know and love each and every one of us, and have a plan, an ideal plan for each one of us, which is different from predestiny. We always have a choice.

Then eventually, I was told it wasn't my time, I had more work to do on earth, and that I had to go back to my body. And when I objected, I was then given a list, basically, of things I still had to do, none of which were things I had any desire to do, none of which I felt I had any ability to do, which is kind of the way it is, right? We're never really called to do things that are within our comfort zone.

The most challenging thing on the list certainly was being told about the coming and unexpected death of my oldest son, who at the time was only nine and was completely healthy. And that obviously was very challenging to contemplate. And I did ask the obvious question of why. You know, why me? Why my son?

When I asked that, I was immediately returned to my life anew in which I had been shown again and again and again the truth of God's promise that beauty will come of all things and that there really is a plan for each one of us and for the world that's one of hope. And I was reminded that it is always a matter of trust. Do you trust all of God's promises to us or not?

Eric Huffman: Mary was pinned underwater beneath her overturned kayak for 30 minutes before her friends were able to rescue her. There's no scientific explanation for how she was able to be resuscitated while avoiding brain damage, though she spent months looking for a way to rationalize her experience. She especially wanted to explain away the prediction of her beloved son's death.

Dr. Mary Neal: I woke up every day for 10 years wondering if that would be the day that my oldest son was killed. And I'm often asked if I told my husband, and the answer is no. Because absent an absolute trust in God's promises, I don't think that's a burden that anyone could bear. I woke up every day praying that the plan for His life and for us would change. If Jesus can ask for the plan to change in the garden, well, I could ask also.

There were some things that happened leading up to his 18th birthday that actually made me think that the plan for his life had indeed changed, but then eventually it didn't. I woke up one day and I had finally finished the manuscript to my first book, To Heaven and Back, and when I called my older boys to tell them the great news, their ski coach picked up and told me my oldest son had just been hit by a car and killed.

My spiritual knowledge and my absolute trust in God's promises did not protect me from his death. It didn't protect me from the emotional devastation of losing my child. My son and I were very close and I was as devastated as any mother would be or could be. But I will also say that even in my deepest days of sorrow, I still experienced an absolute gratitude and joy, and that's because of my absolute trust.

We all suffer loss. And we should embrace grief. Grief means you actually have this depth of love for someone. And the fact is, it's all temporary. I know my son will be one of those people who are waiting for me joyfully to greet me when my own time is done. And indeed, all of the people we've lost will be there to greet us. Even the ones that on earth we didn't really like, they're going to be there. We're going to love them because we're going to understand how they were important in our life story.

After my drowning, I have only one identity, and that is a beloved child of God. Yes, I'm also a spine surgeon and a wife and a mother and all those other things, but all of those identities come far second to the only identity that really matters, which is that I am a beloved child of God.

[00:32:35] <music>

Eric Huffman: Another characteristic of God that came up again and again in the book that I really appreciated, because I've always felt this about God as long as I've been a believer, and I don't think enough people think about the joy and laughter of God.

John Burke: I find that so ironic because in the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to party. We don't think about that. But seven festivals that the whole nation was to come together seven times a year. And He says to them, I want you to celebrate with joy before the Lord for seven days.

Jesus' last night on earth, He said, "I've told you these things so that My joy would be in you and that your joy would overflow." And I overflow. And I think people just don't picture God as joyful.

Eric Huffman: Yeah. I think about the old song or psalm that we used to sing in church in my small town church growing up, the joy of the Lord is my strength. You know, the joy of the Lord... I don't know if you know that song, but I used to interpret it like, well, the joy I have in the Lord is my strength. But your book sort of made me wonder, is it the Lord's joy that's my strength? That's how it seems to be worded. It's His joy that is our strength. What does that mean? And what do the NDE's experiences say about the joy?

John Burke: Sometimes we read the Bible and we can miss it because, honestly, a lot of the Old Testament happened with the Old Testament prophets in a season of rebellion of Israel, warning them over and over and over again. So you feel like, well, God's just mad all the time. No, He was that patient, hoping they wouldn't just keep hardening their hearts. But that's a temporary response of God to a world that turns away from Him. His permanent response is joy. That's where He lives. C.S. Lewis said: Joy is the serious business of heaven. And that's what NDEers say as well.

So like this one guy, Randy, He's a CEO, he has embolisms in his leg that travel up and block his pulmonary artery and his body shuts down. The next thing he knows, he's up, he's traveling up and he's embraced and he knows who this is. And he feels an arm around his stomach and he feels a beard on his face.

Eric Huffman: That's personal.

John Burke: And he knows this is Jesus. He drops to his knees and he's just overwhelmed. And Jesus turns him around and picks him up and he looks into his eyes and he said, "I knew love, I knew the love of a child, I knew the love of a spouse, but I'd never looked into the eyes of love itself."

Eric Huffman: Gosh.

John Burke: And he said, "I just never wanted to leave." And he and Jesus begin to walk through this beautiful paradise. What was interesting, Randy grew up in a very hard childhood. He had really bad asthma, so he's in and out of the hospital a lot. As a result, he was a bit overweight. He got bullied a lot. And Jesus starts showing him these... he called them life vignettes, but it's like a life review. He's showing them all this painful memories of a childhood.

Randy was like, "Lord, why are you showing me this?" Kind of like, "I don't want to see that." And then it hit him. Were you there with me even through that? And he turns and he looks at Jesus and there's a tear going down Jesus' face. And he says, "I was always with you. I've always been with you, just waiting for you to turn to me."

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: And then he comes to this river. You know, Jesus talks about the river of life, right? Which He said was of the Holy Spirit, those rivers of living water. And well, Randy wants to drink, so he does. He scoops it up and he said, "As soon as I did, it was like ecstasy. Like joy just burst through me." And he's just like, "It was unbelievable." And he turns to Jesus, and Jesus shows him across this meadow there are these children playing. And he says, "What is this, Lord?" And He said, "These are the children whose lives were taken too early. I'm restoring their joy."

Eric Huffman: Oh my gosh.

John Burke: And then he looks back at Jesus, and Jesus is holding a flask, like a bottle. Again, he's like, "Everything was intentional." The Lord is mysterious. He is the parable-telling God, by the way. So this fits Jesus' parable-telling. And he's got this flask, and he said, "What is that, Lord?" And he said, "I've been collecting your tears, beloved." And he takes the bottle and he pours it into the river, and instantly Randy knew he's returning my sorrows for joy.

It was like all of the sorrows we've been through in life, we weren't alone. And God saw them. And He counts every one. And when we stay faithful to Him through that, He's going to return it for joy. And sorrow's not the permanent. Sorrow's the temporary. Suffering's not the permanent. Suffering's the temporary. But the permanent is His joy.

[00:38:01] <music>

Eric Huffman: Okay, guys, this seems like a good time to take a quick break and tell you about an organization that's close to my heart. I've seen firsthand the difference that Jubilee Prison Ministry is making throughout the state of Texas in the lives of inmates who have the chance to forge new friendships with folks on the outside and also to have their lives forever changed by the hopeful message of Jesus Christ.

But inmates aren't the only ones who are transformed by Jubilee. In fact, I've also seen God move powerfully in the lives of the men and women who volunteer to make Jubilee weekends possible. I personally know guys who were pretty good men before they started serving through Jubilee. But after their first weekend volunteering inside a prison, I witnessed them be transformed by God into great men, men with fire in their eyes and a passion to change the world.

And the best part is that these guys don't just get excited for a few days before flaming out and going back to who they used to be. Because Jubilee is all about building long-term relationships, the men who serve together become lifelong friends on a mission.

Jubilee isn't just for men either. They're also looking for women to step up and serve inside women's prisons or to provide outside support for all the weekends. So if you're ready and willing to make a difference in the lives of incarcerated men and women in Texas prisons, and maybe you need to make a change in your own life as well, I hope you'll visit for more information about how to volunteer.

If you're not ready to serve in person yet, just please consider making a donation through their website. Again, that's Jubilee is an ecumenical nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible.

Thank you for listening. Now let's get back to today's episode.

[00:39:40] <music>

Eric Huffman: Now what you're describing is on par with so many of the, what I would have called like cheesy images of Jesus. Like I remember laughing at the image of Jesus laughing. You ever seen that painting of Jesus laughing?

John Burke: Yeah.

Eric Huffman: I remember being dismissive of that-

John Burke: Me too.

Eric Huffman: ...and dismissive of Jesus on His knees next to the kid in prayer and all the children's Bible memes and the cutesy stuff. And maybe that was all closer to the true heart of God than my serious theological view.

John Burke: Well, like I said this morning, and what I'm trying to do in Imagine the God of Heaven is help us all realize we all put God in a box. What I'm trying to show is that God is bigger and greater and more powerful and omniscient and sovereign and really does have a plan, all that big stuff, more than we've imagined. But He's also more relatable and fun and enjoys us.

Eric Huffman: Yeah, like your guy, Dr. Ron, said, you wouldn't expect God, Almighty God, to be ready to laugh His ass off, but that's who he found, which was great.

John Burke: Well, and Heidi said, and Greg Rickert, too, said, as Jesus is showing them their life review, many times they paused and just laughed at what happened to them, and not laughing at them, but just laughing about it.

Eric Huffman: Right.

John Burke: I think this is so important because we don't pursue God because either we think He's not great enough to really be trusted, or we think He's not kind enough to be trusted, or relatable enough to be honest. But here's the thing. He came into our world as Jesus to show us He gets it. He's been through it all. He gets us fully. And the truth is nobody gets you more. and nobody wants to help you through life more.

Another powerful thing that Randy, the CEO said, is in heaven, he started to realize, he experienced the Father, Son, and Spirit, but as one. He said, "I started to realize that Jesus was with me by my side the whole time, but sometimes He was speaking to me in my thoughts, just like... some of them call it telepathy. But it's more than just in your thoughts. It's complete feeling, thought, communication. And other times Jesus spoke to me verbally.

And he said, "When He was speaking to me just in my thoughts, I realized this is the voice of the Holy Spirit." And he said, "I realized that the Lord is speaking to us all the time but we just haven't learned to listen and to hear His voice." Many times in the Scriptures, Jesus said, "Let he who has ears to hear hear what the Spirit says."

Eric Huffman: Yeah, right.

John Burke: Well, we all have these round things on the sides of our heads. But it's a spiritual kind of hearing. And we've got to develop that.

Jim Woodford: I think the thing that affects me the most is the importance of forgiveness and kindness. I sense something within me has changed dramatically. I'm not the man I used to be.

Eric Huffman: Jim Woodford, a native of eastern Canada, spent decades working his dream job as a commercial airline pilot, flying to over 52 countries.

Jim Woodford: I had a loving family. We had a beautiful horse farm, all the good stuff, the quintessential American Canadian dream. In 2014, it all crashed.

Eric Huffman: That's when Jim contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome, which left him temporarily paralyzed and unable to speak.

Jim Woodford: Your own autoimmune system turns on itself and destroys the myelin sheath on your brain stem, and you become extremely ill, organ failure, and paralysis. My hands were turning inward, I couldn't breathe, so it was quite serious.

Eric Huffman: Jim eventually recovered, but suffered severe and persistent pain for years. One day, he was out driving his truck around his property, surveying some land that he wanted to sell, when he took too much of his pain medication.

Jim Woodford: It was late in the afternoon, and I didn't plan it this way, but when I parked the truck, I was facing the setting sun, and I took some more of the medication. I sat back in the truck waiting for this warm feeling of relief that normally came, but this time it was different. It felt as though my feet and legs were on fire, so much so that I remember gasping and looking down underneath the steering wheel of the truck, thinking the truck must be on fire. There was no fire, but this heat was spreading rapidly at my legs. And then it started at my fingertips and made its way in my arms and seized in my chest. And suddenly I realized my heart was stopping. It was as though the cab of the truck was filling with water, and I was trying to lift my head up above the water, and I knew in my heart that I was dying.

I looked at the setting sun, and from somewhere deep inside me, there was this feeling not of fear. It wasn't fear, but I called it to God. This sudden realization that I had led such an extraordinarily happy life, and I had never thanked Him for that. I had never acknowledged His presence in my life.

I spoke six words, and the first three were, "God, forgive me." As I said that, I fell forward on the steering wheel, hit myself really hard. And I'm gone. I'm not quite sure how long I was gone, but I remember sitting back up and something extraordinary had happened. I could move. The pain, the burning sensation was gone. And I slid out the door. And I walk about 15 feet away very slowly. I can't understand it. I have no pain after having pain for four years.

And as I looked back at the truck, I'm filled with rage and anger because someone is sitting in my truck. Who would have the audacity to sit in my truck? Not only that, he's sleeping on the steering wheel. And I gazed through the driver's window of the truck, and to my astonishment, the figure leaning over the steering wheel is no stranger. It is me.

My head's turned sideways, there's blood gushing from my mouth where I'd hemorrhaged, and I am just stout. And as I watched in amazement, I started to rise, and I'm floating into the sky. I get a little higher, and for some reason I tilted my head back and looked above me. And when I did, this beautiful golden ring appeared in the sky, about 60 feet in diameter, and my body turns toward it. I have no control. Everyone's heard probably the term tunnel of light, but I believe that's what I was experiencing.

And I'm going forward, and at the very far end of this tunnel there's an even brighter gold. Then I began to decelerate and I come to a stop and there's a portal or a door — I still don't know what to call it — in front of me, and it's covered in a mist. I put my right foot forward through the mist and I felt something solid, so I passed through the portal.

Gradually, the mist started to clear, and it cleared at my feet first, and I looked out, and this incredible, beautiful green grass. And I moved my foot a little bit, and every time I moved my foot, light would ripple out through the grass from the pressure of my foot. And then I look up, and I am looking out at the most... I mean, I traveled to 52 countries. I've never seen anything as beautiful as what lay before me.

The first thing I was trying to find was the sun to orient myself. No sun in the sky, but this brilliant blue, a deeper blue than we have here, and ranges of mountains and terraces of flowers. It's like earth, but 10,000 times more beautiful.

As I moved toward the left, that beautiful green grass went from green to brown to scorched to black and dropped off in a crevasse. And I was taken by the dichotomy of the beauty that I saw on my right hand and the darkness that I saw on the left.

I've always been a curious person, so I started to slowly make my way over to try to determine why the darkness. And the chasm dropped off, and it was shiny black like coal. To my amazement, at the very bottom of it, I could see a flicker of light, of red and orange light.

Then I realized something was opening, and then I heard the most unusual sound. It was as though two huge doors were opening, and I could hear the hinges screeching as they were pushed open. Then to my amazement, I realized there was a figure emerging from these doors, and the doors were very, very tall, almost like the gates of a fortress. And I look, and I see this huge, horrendous-looking figure shuffling through these gates, its body on fire, smoke rising off it. And suddenly, it sensed I was there. And when it swiveled... now this thing is big, not human, maybe part human at one time. And it swiveled its head around and looked up at me. I will never forget the look in the eyes, those burning eyes, and the fangs in its face.

And look, I know this sounds like a bad Netflix movie. I saw this. This is a memory. This is engraved on my soul. And it turned snarled. And the look of hatred in its eyes, not just for me, the look of hatred was for all of mankind. All of mankind. And then to my absolute amazement, it moved with amazing agility and suddenly it was scrambling up the wall of that shiny black coal. I remember it reel up out of the pit and I heard something horrific. I thought it was the creature screaming and crying, but the sounds were coming from within the creature.

It was as though this creature had consumed souls, and they were crying for release, for help. And I'm scrambling backwards. I got to my feet, and this thing is coming toward me. And then what really galvanized me was it spoke to me. It knew me. This creature knew me. If a snake had a voice, that's what this thing sounded like. "Jim, this is your time with us. Come to us, Jim. Come to us."

Remember I said there are six words that allow me to be with you today. The first three, "God, forgive me." I turned my back to the creature to keep my sanity, and I turned toward the sky of heaven, and I cried out the next three words, "God, help me, help me." Instantly, three points of light at different places in that beautiful sky, like distant stars started enlarging and coming toward me. They joined at one point and then came down together.

Through the light, the brilliance of that light, I realized that God had heard my prayer, my plea. The stars emerged into three beings. And as they came toward me, this incredible light flashed from them. And I turned in time to see that light go over my shoulder and strike the demon. And when it did, the demon screeched and howled and scrambled back down in its hole.

Darkness and evil cannot exist in the light of God. And that is what so many of us have forgotten. If you have the light of God in you, you are untouchable. And I'm not talking about going to church once in a while. I'm talking about having God in your heart 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the rest of your life. Darkness cannot touch you. And now these beautiful creatures are coming toward me, tall, elegant, and with the most gentle smiles, with silver hair, and just magnificent.

And one of them separated themselves from the three and came toward me. This one was about 10 feet tall. And the thing that I will always remember, the violet eyes. And I'm looking up and suddenly I feel the angel's arm come around my shoulder and hold me close, I am now safe from the demon.

The other two came forward and then together they bowed to me. To me! They bowed to me. And it wasn't just a bow of welcome. It was the deepest bow of respect and honor. I immediately felt so unworthy. And I finally found my voice, and as they straightened back up and smiled at me, I said, "Please, why do you bow to me? I am but a man. I should bow to you." And then the most beautiful voice said to me, "James, do you not know that when we look at mankind we see the light of our master within you?"

There's another figure that I had not met to this point, and there was something about this figure that, as beautiful as the angels were, this figure not only looked magnificent, but there was this golden light that flowed off him. I call it liquid gold, slow-moving liquid gold water. And it comes off him like light. And I realized the light was heading for me, it was flowing down toward me.

And it pulled, by this time I was kneeling, it pulled around my knees, and I'm just overwhelmed by the beauty of it. And then all of a sudden, when that liquid touched me, this awareness came up through me. And I realized at the same instant that figure turned toward me, that I was looking at none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Someone that I had thought was just some Jewish legend, and I'm staring into these eyes of gray and green and blue. And I'm just overwhelmed by the look of love in His face for me. I stood up to try to move toward him. I had to be closer. Then suddenly, Jesus raised His right hand and it was a command to stop. And when He did, the sleeve of His cloak fell down, and right there on the wrist were the remains of the crucifixion, the hole in His wrist.

And with His hand raised, this is what He said to me, "James, my son, this is not yet your time. Go back and tell your brothers and sisters of the wonders we have shown you." And I began to plead, I began to beg, "Please don't send me back, this is where I belong."

Suddenly there are two guardians on either side of me I had not seen before and they lift me as though I'm a feather and turn me and start walking me back down that path. And suddenly I'm in a tunnel again. It's not beautiful, it's dark, it's wet, I feel pain, but I have the sensation of downward travel. They tell me now that back at the hospital, because by that time my wife had reported me missing when I didn't come home overnight, they found my truck, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived — I knew none of this, of course, till after I woke up — and an ambulance, they called the DOA into the hospital, and I was put on a ventilator while they tried to resuscitate me and get my heart going.

All my organs had stopped working. And for 11 hours, I was without a brain sign. 11 hours. And Lorraine knew the doctor being a nurse, they said to her, "Lorraine, we're afraid that there's no point in trying to resuscitate him. He won't. After all this time, if he did come back, it would not be good."

Lorraine asked them if they could wait and disconnect the machines until our children arrived to say goodbye to me. So Lorraine had no hope that I'd ever make it. All of a sudden, a nurse runs into the quiet room, where she's with her sisters, and says, "Mrs. Woodford, come quick, come quick." She ran out, and I'm on the bed in the intensive care unit. I'm intubated, and I'm screaming at the top of my lungs: "I'm back."

Lorraine crawled up in the bed, and they finally took the intubator out, and I'm trying to orient myself from the beauty of heaven to this hospital. And she's kissing me on the face, and finally my eyes focused, and I looked at her, and I said, "I saw Jesus."

Eric Huffman: Jim says he hasn't been the same since he spent those 11 hours at the gates of heaven and hell, and since Jesus gave him a second chance at life. In 2017, he released his first book detailing his near-death experience called Heaven: An Unexpected Journey. Today Jim travels all over the world teaching people that it's never too late to turn to God.

[00:59:15] <music>

Even as a skeptic about a lot of things, it's hard for me to find points of argument with what you've written and with the fruit of your work. But I know you face a lot of criticism and pushback from within the church. And I've heard some of that, frankly, just by having had you on the podcast. But what are some of the things you hear pushback-wise from Christians?

John Burke: Well, I mean, it took me 35 years to write Imagine Heaven for a reason. So Christians oftentimes say, what are you saying? You're saying everybody goes to heaven? No, I have a whole chapter in Imagine Heaven on hell. There's, you know...

Eric Huffman: What percentage of...?

John Burke: 23% of people who came forward talking about a near-death experience had a hellish near-death experience. So hell is just as real as heaven, and they're testifying to that as well. So that's not it. And then they'll say, Well, why in the world would someone who doesn't even believe in God, doesn't know Jesus, why would they see God? Or why would they see Jesus? And I remind them that, well, Saul, the Apostle Paul was Saul. He was a Pharisee who did not believe in Jesus, and he was persecuting Christians.

Eric Huffman: Killing them, yeah.

John Burke: When he's on the Damascus Road going to arrest Christians, and this brilliant God of light, just like the one that appears to near-death experiencers, appears to Saul. And I like to point out that Jesus does not explain the gospel. He doesn't tell them what to do. And that's because what God really wants is us to seek Him. Because He wants our love. He wants our hearts.

Eric Huffman: Sure. I think the part that is a threat to some people in the Christian world is probably the fact that the encounter happens after death or it seems to have happened after death. And I think some Christians don't want to give anyone the impression that there's any chance beyond this life to accept the Lord and to be saved.

I don't think that's because of your descriptions of near-death experiences. I don't actually think that's what you're advocating for, a post-death sort of opportunity. But because you're saying that these are special, unique situations that aren't the fullness of heaven, it's a window God gives these particular people before sending them back to offer witness and testimony.

John Burke: For all of our sakes.

Eric Huffman: Yeah, for all of our sakes.

John Burke: And one of the things that held me up writing for a long time is, you know, I am an intense student of the Bible. I mean, if you read, you'll see it.

Eric Huffman: Yes, you are.

John Burke: And I have been. So Hebrews 9:27 says, it's appointed for mankind to die once, then comes the judgment. That always tripped me up. It's like, Okay, then what are these things? I didn't get it. And it wasn't until, one, people started coming forth. Initially, they didn't come forth about hellish experiences. Because I mean, who wants to say, "Hey, I didn't go to the good place. You know, like I'm that bad." Hey, you know, no. And it's so real they have PTSD over it. So it's not a laughing matter. But again, that's not their eternity. I have three Christian pastor friends who all had hellish NDEs and came back and realized, man, I gotta pursue God. And they did wholeheartedly.

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: But it wasn't the hellish experience that motivated them to pursue God. It was that they called out to Him and He rescued them. And it was His love that compelled them. They wanted people to know this is real and don't reject God. Because there's only one place where God stays out. If you don't want God, there's only one place where His light and love, and life are not. And that is hell.

As C.S. Lewis says, the gates of hell are locked from the inside. Hell is God giving free will creatures what they want when they say, Stay out of my life.

Eric Huffman: What's the purpose of these experiences in your view?

John Burke: Well, I do think they are a testimony to the reality of heaven, of hell, of the wonders of God. But another commonality of near-death experiences is they would say there's a border or a boundary, and it looks different to different experiences, but they would say, I knew I couldn't cross over that and still come back to earth.

In Imagine the God of Heaven, several times I report on Jesus told them, "You have to go back, you haven't died yet." Now they had died by our clinical definition. They had no heartbeat, no brainwaves. And so whatever this is, it's something in between when we cross over into eternal life or as the scripture says, eternal death.

That is also why I don't encourage people to go just study near-death experiences to understand what's gonna happen after this life. Because one, they're interpreting, and their interpretation can be wrong.

Eric Huffman: Sure.

John Burke: There are a lot of people who have very shallow experiences. And I don't mean they're shallow. I mean maybe they leave their body, they feel great, they have 50 senses, not five, they see this wonderful welcoming committee there, and then they're back in their body. That was actually the experience of an atheist college professor, who if he had been brought back right then, he would have said, Oh, atheists go to heaven, it's all great.

Eric Huffman: Sure.

John Burke: But that wasn't the end of what he experienced. These wonderful people then deceived him and led him into the outer darkness and mauled him-

Eric Huffman: Oh my gosh.

John Burke: ...until he turns and cries out to Jesus. And then this Jesus He mocked and ridiculed his whole life comes to him as this brilliant light and takes him out. And then he comes back and leaves a tenured professorship two years later to become a Christian pastor. And his wife divorces him because she's an atheist and thinks he's crazy. What could motivate that?

But the point is that these are not crossing over into eternity. The scripture says there's only one who has really been there and come back to tell, and that's Jesus. And so I think these are gifts from God. He's giving them a glimpse. And now I would also say about the last minute opportunity, I don't know when the last minute is. I do think when people cross over into eternity... you know, Jesus said there's a separation that can't be crossed. So I don't think that people can realize, Oh, I was wrong completely on the other side.

On the other hand, God's mercy and love for every person is so great that I'm convinced He is pursuing them doggedly to the very last second. And many people who had near-death experiences who realized as they were leaving their body, "Oh my gosh, all this stuff is real," and they realized, "I'm sorry, Lord, I have denied you." And they repent. And I think He's given them every last opportunity.

Eric Huffman: When people ask me whether people get another chance after this life on earth, God is God. It's up to Him, and I'm not going to argue with Him, or whatever the case. But I hope.

John Burke: Well, you know, sometimes I find Christians are more worried about who's not going to get there than worried about trying to help people get there. Look, Jesus told a parable. And I think if you feel that way, I think this one's for you probably. And His parable was, you know, and this is God, hired these workers to work in his field. Some he offered $5 of wages to, and they worked all day long, and others came halfway at lunch, and he offered $5 of wages, and they worked half a day. And others came like one minute before closing, and he gave them $5. And the others came up and said, "That's not fair." And he said, "Hey, wasn't it fair that I offered you this?"

Eric Huffman: These wages, yeah.

John Burke: And if I want to be gracious, is that a problem with you?

Eric Huffman: My favorite parable.

John Burke: Yeah.

Eric Huffman: Parable of Vineyard Workers, Matthew 20, too good. Final question. What do these NDEs tell us about what this life means and what we're supposed to be doing here?

John Burke: I think that's very clear. This life is all about love. It's about learning to love freely forever. And why I say that is, you know, the Bible tells us that we are living in the knowledge of good and evil. In heaven, we're going to live just in the knowledge of good. So I believe that God has temporarily put us in a taste of heaven and a taste of hell. Just a taste.

I mean, we think the suffering is horrible or we think the joys are great. Neither are even close. It's just a muted taste so that we will see what is missing is God.

Eric Huffman: Wow.

John Burke: You know, He's not completely missing. He's holding back evil, his Holy Spirit is convicting of sin and judgment, righteousness, and all His good gifts of love and joy and enjoyment. Those are His gifts, and He's wooing us to Himself. But He wants us to love Him and follow Him. And correlating directly with that is how we love and treat one another.

And this is what Jesus said. You can sum up all the commandments, the first and greatest, love God with all you've got. And the second, which can't be taken away, is love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Do those two and you fulfill all the commandments of scripture. And I think that's what we are learning to do here.

So, for those who haven't given their heart to God, that's the first step because you can't love God if you don't accept this incredible gift He's given through Christ, that He has paid for all your wrongs. You're not gonna make up for all those wrongs of the past, you can't go back in the past. So what He does is He pays for it so that simply a heart turning back to Him can be reconnected. Because the problem in life is we're disconnected from the source of love and life.

Eric Huffman: Sure.

John Burke: And then we walk through life with Him, hopefully becoming more like Him so that His love spreads through us to others. That's why Jesus taught us to pray, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. But how does that happen? Only through Me when I'm willing.

Eric Huffman: Why do you suppose people can't seem to stop thinking about the afterlife? Cynics will say it's simply because we're afraid of dying, and so we make up stories just to calm our fears. But the testimonies of people who've experienced NDEs seem to suggest that something more is going on here. Not only do human beings appear to be wired to anticipate an afterlife, but NDEs show that our experiences beyond this life are strikingly similar, no matter what culture or religion we claim.

If John is right, and the overarching testimony of thousands of people who've crossed over and come back points to a God of light and love. That's a powerfully compelling clue that you and I were made for more than what most of us have been living for.

Now you might choose to look at these clues and remain cynical, unwilling to be moved by any supernatural stories such as these. And if so, that's your prerogative. But I've seen enough and heard enough to believe with all my heart that we are more than mere matter and energy, and that the God described by many Indy ears is the God of the Bible who made each one of us on purpose and for a purpose.

I believe God is the reason you're here. And as our nation barrels full speed ahead toward another election year that's sure to be tense and tiresome, I can't imagine a more urgent reminder for us than this. We were created by the God who is love to be loved and to love. And in the end, that's really all that's gonna matter.

Julie Mirlicourtois: If you have questions or comments about this episode, please engage with us on Instagram, YouTube, or by emailing us at [email protected]. And please help more listeners find Maybe God by rating and reviewing us wherever you listen.

Maybe God is produced by Julie Mirlicourtois and Eric and Geovanna Huffman. Our associate producer and social media manager is Adira Polite. This episode was edited by Stephen Jeffrey and L.G. Brown Hamilton, with the assistance of Shannon Stefan. And Donald Kilgore is the director of Maybe God's full-length YouTube videos. Thanks for listening, everyone.