Back from the dead after lethal jellyfish attack
By Sandie Shirley
2009: Ian McCormack was clinically dead for 15 minutes, experiencing both hell and heaven before he came back to life after being stung by five poisonous box jellyfish.
His unforgettable glimpse of eternity came in the aftermath of horrific suffering. His muscles went into spasm and his body shook uncontrollably as poison from the deadliest creature known to man had felt like "thousands of electricity volts".
"I was pronounced dead, but I was alive, except outside of my physical form since we are built for eternity," said Ian. He believes he was snatched from the jaws of hell as he meditated on the Lord's Prayer and was rescued by the 'Shepherd of men's souls'.
The heartfelt prayer, taught by his mother as a child at bedtime, changed and saved his life, he told a 90-strong audience at an event staged by Wymondham Hope Community Church.
Ian was deep-sea diving in Mauritius with native fishermen when his destiny hung in the balance, 26 years ago. While being rushed to hospital by ambulance, his life, right from being a young boy, flashed before him. He was a gambler, who slept around and an atheist who believed in Charles Darwin.
"Suddenly I saw my mother. She was on her knees praying at midday in her home in New Zealand. I had no idea, until later, that at that precise time she saw my face and heard the voice of God say: 'Your eldest son Ian is nearly dead. Pray for him now.'"
During the remarkable experience, Ian recalled her words: "No matter how many things you have done wrong you can cry out to God and He will hear you." He tried in vain to remember the Lord's Prayer but the words supernaturally appeared as he was challenged to forgive those who had hurt him. "With surrender and humility came incredible peace," says 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, rolling hills and trees that I had never seen before," says Ian.
The experience was life-changing for the former church singer who had been christened and confirmed. Sorrow and loneliness was removed and his broken heart was mended. He read the whole Bible in six weeks and was commissioned to share the amazing account with worldwide audiences to show the invincible mercy and grace of a loving Father God.
Twenty six years later he still bears the whip marks when his skin was blistered by the jellyfish attacks but his renewed heart has convinced him to become a church pastor. "We cannot clean ourselves up for salvation – we need God," says Ian, who initially found himself in hell, he firmly believes.
"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 could not touch me. I felt like a speck of dust being drawn up into a radiant light and delivered out of the kingdom of darkness."