Near Death Experience - Justin Gonzales
"My name is Justin Gonzales. I am 29 years old, born in San Antonio, Texas, and I currently serve in the US Air Force. I did not value church or the Bible growing up and didn’t really pray unless I needed something. Before I knew the truth, I lived in the world. I valued my flesh, my possessions, my life more than I valued the one who created me. I believed that the more I achieved, the more I possessed, the longer I served the military the more I could prove I was a good person. I did not believe I needed to read my Bible, pray, or obey all of the Lord’s commands.
It wasn’t until I was 25 that I truly heard and believed the Gospel—that our Lord, Jesus Christ, was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again to defeat death. In that year, I had a near death experience that shattered my reality. In the space between life and death, I had what felt like a nightmare where I saw what looked like a burning cloud in the night sky of a desolate wasteland. I felt fear in that moment and hid underground, but the light broke through anyway and I was found. I later had another dream where I heard a whisper, repeatedly telling me, “Isaiah 6:4”, which reads, “Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:4 NLT This is how God revealed Himself to Isaiah and, through my dreams, how He began to reveal Himself to me.
Within that time, I also struggled with my mental health. I had thoughts of self harm, depression, and anxiety. The Lord provided me the Air Force Chaplains, who encouraged me to seek help. I did and that’s the second time the Lord showed me mercy. The Lord also provided me many teachers to help me understand my sinful nature, my need to repent, and my need for Jesus. Among those teachers, one in particular brought me under his wing and discipled me to be a faithful believer. He encouraged me to read my Bible, have accountability, and go to church.
The moment I fell, God picked me back up. I now look to know and serve the Lord, both in and outside of church. I am in community with faithful believers who help me live a holy life. I no longer look to fill my life with possessions, drunkenness, or pleasures of the flesh. I instead seek to fill my life with the Lord’s wisdom and prayer. Today, I fear the Lord and I give my life to Him in obedience by being baptized and publicly proclaiming my faith and testimony."