Ian McCormack Died, Saw Heaven & Returned
The Perfect Wave Film Is His Story
[Note: Part One featured an interview with Rachel Hendrix; Part Three will feature Cheryl Ladd on Tuesday, 9/16]
In 1982, off the island of Mauritius, surfer Ian McCormack was stung by five box jellyfish multiple times. The box jellyfish is one of the most deadly creatures in the world, and just one sting can kill a person in minutes. Ian quickly died after he was stung multiple times, despite being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Some time later, while his body was being stored in the morgue, he miraculously came back to life.
The event, amazingly enough, is indeed a true story. You can see videos here of family members and a nurse testifying that Ian has told the truth. A full, detailed account of his story — told by Ian himself — can be seen here.
Yet all of that is just the beginning of the story.
The incredible things that happened to Ian while he was dead — which included seeing Heaven and meeting Jesus face-to-face — and the fascinating worldwide surfing trek and love story that preceded his death, are the subjects of the new film The Perfect Wave, starring Scott Eastwood (Fury, son of Clint Eastwood), Rachel Hendrix (October Baby), and Cheryl Ladd (Charlie’s Angels). The film comes out on DVD this Tuesday on September 16, 2014. My full review of the film is here, and you can preorder or purchase it online at WalMart.com or learn more about the movie at its official site.
I had the wonderful joy of asking Ian about his miraculous experience via email interview:
You’ve had over 30 years now to reflect on your experience of dying, encountering Jesus in Heaven, and being raised to life by Him. You mentioned having childhood innocence restored in your heart just from being in the Presence of Christ. Has he also helped you maintain a childlike wonder in these past decades? Has he helped that experience stay fresh in your heart?
Yes, I have felt that [childlike wonder] each time I relive the experience — I go back there. It seems outside of time. Eternity steps into my world again. God has helped me by also taking me back into the heavenly realm to see more over the past 30 plus years. It is like Paul said in 2 Cor 12:2-5 — whether I was in my body or out of my body, God knows I was caught up into the third heaven.
When you saw Jesus in Heaven, your stunning descriptions matched Scripture perfectly even though you had never read those Scriptures at that time. And then after you were raised back to life and returned home, you read the Bible cover-to-cover in six weeks. Was it an intense hunger to know more about the One you had just met in person that drove you to read so quickly?
Yes, when the Lord told me to read the Bible I was amazed by what was in it. I had never read one before that day. Once I opened it and started reading I couldn’t put it down. I fell asleep with it in my hands only to awake and continue to read. Day and night. I didn’t even want to leave my room. My mother would bring food to me. It was life-changing. It is God’s words and all of it is true.
I imagine you must get so incredibly homesick for Heaven after seeing Jesus and the new heavens and the new earth. You even remarked that, while with Jesus, you had said, “I wish I had been born there,” referring to the new earth. How does God help you cope with having to be back in this fallen world when you’ve seen Paradise itself?
It is hard some days, and I do wonder why I came back. Had it not been for my mother, I would have stayed there. But the Lord does continue to open the heavens for me each day and speaks to me so it becomes bearable to live on earth. Heaven is my home, and I will have all eternity to explore it when I cross over at death. Praise God we have eternal life in Jesus and there is no fear in death.
In your messages, you’ve taken care to emphasize that all of us can experience the same miraculous love of Christ that you experienced when you met Him in Heaven — that it’s not an exclusive thing reserved only for miraculous experiences like this one. How can Christians experience and know more of Christ’s love in their walks with Him?
The key is a heart wholly devoted to Him, to give Jesus all your heart. Out of the heart comes the wellsprings of Life. I love this passage of Scripture — Eph 3:14-21 — that Jesus may dwell in our hearts through faith and that we might be rooted and grounded in Love. And to know the love of Jesus Christ which surpasses knowledge. Love is the greatest. And perfect love casts out all fear.
The film The Perfect Wave was so enjoyable and inspiring from beginning to end. The storyline with your mother especially hit me right in the heart. She strongly reminded me of my devoutly Christian mother, who passed away in 2010. There were so many layers to the film. I’ve been trying to imagine what it must be like for you to see your life portrayed on the big screen. Even though we’re very familiar with our own lives, a person’s story can take a life of its own when it’s a movie. Has watching the movie been eye-opening for you or impacted you or brought new spiritual growth to you in some way?
It has again reinforced my love for my praying mother. I wouldn’t be here had she not been saved and praying for me that night. I have just been with her in New Zealand, she is 82 years of age, and prays every day. What a privilege to have a mum like her.