Imagine waking up from a coma, gifted with a second chance at life – an opportunity to mend past mistakes, redefine personal values, and share a miraculous revelation with the world. This is the extraordinary tale of Jim Woodford, or “Diamond Jim” as he was affectionately known. Self-made and ambitious, Jim was a man defined by his material wealth, but his life was about to undergo a transformation he never expected.
“Diamond Jim,” according to his wife Lorraine, was a man who believed “Nothing was too big of a problem. He could fix it.” However, in her heart, Lorraine, a devout Christian, yearned for a deeper change in her husband.
Lorraine prayed fervently, “God please change his heart. Bring him to know Jesus Christ and just make a change in him and deal with this materialistic way.”
Years passed, and as his wealth grew, so did the gulf between Jim and his loved ones. In the silence of the night, he would wake and ask himself, “Is this all there is?” This questioning became all the more profound when, at the age of 61, Jim was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. This rare and incurable disease resulted in chronic, debilitating pain that he described as “unremitting, electrical current pain in every part of my body, accompanied with paralyzing inability to move.”
In his struggle with pain, Jim’s personality took a turn for the worse. “He was just getting to be a very angry person. The pain was just consuming him,” said Lorraine. Despite his suffering, Jim never thought to seek divine assistance. He recalls, “Never once, and this speaks to the arrogance, did I reach inside or look up to the sky and say, ‘God, if you exist, help me out here.’ Not me, not Diamond Jim.”
In a moment of desperation in April 2014, Lorraine made a prayer that would spark a chain of unimaginable events. She prayed, “God, I’ve been praying, but I haven’t seen any change. Maybe you just have to break him to remake him.”
Later that month, a dramatic turn of events unfolded. After taking more than four times his dosage, Jim was overwhelmed by a growing burning sensation in his legs. Finding it increasingly hard to breathe, Jim mustered his last breath to cry out, “God! Forgive me! Forgive me!”
When Jim did not return home, Lorraine alerted the police. He was found unresponsive in his truck and was immediately rushed to the hospital. The doctors, however, gave Lorraine the bleak news that her husband was severely brain-damaged with no signs of brain activity and organ failure.
In this bleak hour, something extraordinary was happening that no one was aware of. Jim says, “I look to the right and there’s this incredible vista of beautiful flowers and meadows. And I turned my vision to the left and that beautiful green grass went from green to brown to scorched to black and dropped off in a crevasse. I saw the most hideous creature you could ever imagine. And I fell back in abject terror. But at this point, I turned toward the light and I cried out, ‘God, help me. Help me!’”
In response, he says, three angels arrived and took him through heaven, leading him to an encounter with Jesus Christ. Recalling this transformative experience, Jim shares, “I realized I was looking at none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God…I had no answer…But as I looked into His eyes and He smiled at me. He knew me. I saw such intense love and forgiveness for me, for me who deserved nothing. And that was the moment…I was His forever. Whatever was about to become of me, I was His. I-I-I loved Him and He loved me.”
Despite his wish to stay, Jesus had other plans for him. Jim says Jesus told him, “’Go back and tell your brothers and sisters of the wonders we have shown you.’ Suddenly I’m in a cold hospital room on a gurney, screaming at the top of my lungs. Scared the daylights out of some of the nurses!”
When Lorraine saw him, she knew that a miracle had occurred. “He was focused on Jesus. And he became much gentler,” she notes. Jim, who still carries the markers of Guillain-Barre syndrome, is now completely pain-free and is intent on telling everyone he can about salvation in Jesus Christ. In his words, “You have to open the door of your heart to let Him in, and the door of my heart has now been opened.”
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