On the way home from a conference, Don Piper's car was crushed by a semi-truck that crossed into his lane. 4 different EMT groups who were there pronounced him dead. While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, Piper experienced the glories of heaven, awed by its beauty and music. 90 minutes after the wreck, while a minister prayed for him, Piper miraculously returned to life on earth with only the memory of inexpressible heavenly bliss. This year marks the 10th anniversary and in the past 10 years millions of people worldwide have read the incredible true story of Don Piper's experience with death and life--and in reading they have found their own lives changed.
The first person Don met in heaven was his grandfather, whom he is really close to.
"Welcome home, Donny" he said, extending his hands to Don. Don immediately noticed that all his grandfather's fingers were there - something that Don had never seen before as his grandfather had lost some fingers due to industrial accidents.
Even the missing teeth of Don's great grandmother was replaced as she smiled at Don, standing beside his grandfather.
Everyone in heaven was perfect, the way God had created us to be in the first place. Nobody had any scars and everything was restored, except for Jesus.
His scars remind us of how we got there, of the price and sacrifice that was needed to pay for our sins. We will be sinless in heaven and His scars prove it.
The music that Don heard in heaven was the one thing that really captured him and is something that he "brought back" with him.
There were thousands of songs at the same time, without chaos. The songs all fit together. They were all praising God, singing halleluiah and glory to God and they were all lifted up to the throne of God.
But soaring above all these songs was one song - "Holy, holy, holy"
Because He is, and we are not…
That music actually permeated Don, the one thing that he carries all the time. The wearier he is here on earth, the louder that music gets, reminding him how close heaven really is.
Don returned from the gates of Heaven to endure 13 excruciating months of hospitalization, 34 major surgeries, including some never before attempted in the United States, and years of painful therapy and rehabilitation.
Everybody was nice to him, but nobody truly understand the pain of it all. Lying in that bed in a horrific shape where he was told that he might never walk again or use his arm again, he wondered why he had to come back and go through all the pain. The fact that he had tasted heaven and had it "taken" away made it worse. Don slipped into depression which took him about a year and a half to work through it.
One night, when he was shaking his fists at God, God clearly said to him, "This is not about you. It is about Me. What I can do through you now, I can never do before. You need to turn your test into a testimony. You need to thank your pain and find a purpose for it. You need to be able to hold other people's hands and say ‘I understand how you feel'. Then they can have hope."
That is what he has been doing ever since.
Now, Don shares his incredible lessons of answered prayer, miracles, overcoming tragedy, pain and loss, and the reality of Heaven. Indeed, each time Don rises to speak, people are astounded that he can even walk onto the platform. But he does and those in attendance are simply not the same after he concludes his presentation.
For a copy of Don's book, 90 Minutes in Heaven, please visit our Crossroads eStore.