SID: You know Bruce, I know your background. You were molested as a child. You were headed towards disaster and you weren’t a church-goer. You went to a Sunday school for the first and only time of your life with your grandparents and you were told about the love that Jesus has for you and then shortly thereafter, you were in bed and weeping. Why were you weeping?
BRUCE: It was a particularly bad night. I was feeling shame, guilt, fear, just all those emotions balled up, guilt, all the stuff inside, of being molested.
SID: And when you’re about ready to hear what I’m going to ask you next, many people get supernaturally healed even as they hear what actually happened to Bruce. What happened?
BRUCE: Well when I was in that Sunday school, the Sunday school teacher told the story about Jesus hugging the children. And so you fast forward several months to this night, and as I’m laying there feeling this hurt, this guilt, the shame, the fear that came along with it, that story came back in my mind of what he had said, and I knew there was nobody that was going to give me any affection, attention or love. So I just simply said the Doubting Thomas prayer and said, “Jesus, if you’re real, I want you to come here and hug me like you did those kids in that story.” And immediately, I was picked up off the bed, pulled into a chest and I got a full, like a hug. But it was so much more, Sid, than just a physical hug. It was like being words, I have a hard time coming up with the words to describe it, but it’s like being dipped in liquid love from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. All the guilt and the shame, the fear, all those bad feelings just began to just wash off and wash out. And I woke up the next morning. I fell asleep like that and I woke up the next morning and here’s five-year-old theology for you. I said, “There is something to this Jesus thing.”
SID: Now November 2006, the devil tried to kill you. In fact, he succeeded. Bruce died. What happened to you, briefly?
BRUCE: That particular day I was working underneath a large Peterbilt logging truck, as big as any semi-truck you can find. The other mechanic I was working with, who worked at this logging company had removed one of the front wheels. And he had jacked it up but unfortunately not used any safety equipment, no jack stands or blocks. I knew it and it was my fault. I still walked underneath anyway. I was underneath the truck. I was laying underneath the front axle. That’s the lowest part of the truck on these big trucks, 10 to 12,000 pounds of weight just on that front axle. And that jack that’s over here, as I’m laying underneath it, I said to him, “Get inside the truck and shut the engine off.” When he did, the truck shifted just enough. The jack slipped out and that axle, this 10 to 12,000 pounds of weight came down like a blunt guillotine and crushed my body in half on impact. Blood came out as it fell through me and I just called out and said, “Lord Jesus, help me.” I remember saying it twice in case he didn’t hear me the first time. And I looked down and there was about one inch of space between the bottom of the axle and the cement. So I knew my body was one-inch thick here and there was about two inches of space from the bottom.
SID: One inch?
BRUCE: Yes. In fact, it was thinner than my spine.
SID: What happened to your organs?
BRUCE: Spleen, pancreas, intestines, all crushed, thinner than my spine because L4, L5 vertebrae were broken five places. Major arteries were severed. I had a flat spot. I looked like something out of a cartoon. In fact, when I looked at myself, that’s what I thought, something out of a cartoon. I’m flat and as I’m bleeding out and feeling, going in shock, obviously I’m feeling weak, I’m begging him to get me out from the truck. He ended up, the guy I was working with, jacking the truck up off me. When he jacked the truck up off me, it was at that point I actually bled out because the truck was holding everything together. It’s a volunteer department area, so when he dialed 911, guys’ pagers are going off and these two, the first guy gets there and the second guy gets there, and they were asking questions and talking just a little bit. I was mumbling and it was at that point my heart stopped. I remember literally I heard my heart stop and it was because I bled out. When it happened, when my heart quit beating, my spirit left my body. I went up to the roof of the garage and then I watched from above the whole entire thing playing out. Let me say this. When I was in the roof, I felt amazing. There was absolutely no fear, no pain. I felt the most incredible peace I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I just watched from above and on each side of my body were two humongous angels, about eight feet tall. I gauged them off of the guy I was working with who was about six feet tall. Their heads stuck up a couple of feet tall from his head, big broad shoulders, white shining robes like the Bible talks about, and they had their hands in the middle where I was crushed flat. They were just ministering to my body and I just watched it from above. One of the last two people that came to the scene of the accident was a two-month baby Christian named Shannon. She came in between the angels. She’s feeling for a pulse. She asked, I’m watching it all from above, she says, “What’s his name?” They say, “Bruce Van Natta.”
SID: By the way, the two-month means she had been a believer for two months. She wasn’t two months old.
BRUCE: Right. So she’s feeling and she said, “What is his name?” And they said, “Bruce Van Natta”. She begins to pat me in the face and say, “Bruce Van Natta, open your eyes. Come on, open your eyes.” And she gets louder and louder. I watched everybody in the place turn and looked at her and gave her the crazy lady look, like what are you doing? There’s no CPR, there’s no defibrillator. She just slapped me in the face and said, “Open your eyes.” And as she did, my spirit came back and descended into my body. The first thing that happened when I came back, my heart started, but this incredible pain came with it. I felt like the truck had fallen on me and I’m crushing. And I was like, no, I don’t want this. As soon as I made the decision, my heart stopped again. My spirit left my body. A tunnel opened up going out of the roof of that garage, up above, 45 degrees. I could tell there was a bright light on the end of it. And I just got in the tunnel and I started going towards the light, and I knew that it was Heaven on the end of the tunnel. It felt amazing. As I’m going, I could hear her calling my name, “Come back! Come back!” Stopped in the tunnel, got sucked backwards, back through the roof of the garage.
SID: We don’t know, this is a few-month believer. We don’t know the power that we, God has entrusted to us.
BRUCE: Amen. I go back into my body and when I went back in again, the pain comes. I’m feeling all this peace and now I’m feeling all this pain. But God spoke to me and he simply said this: “If you want to live, you’re going to have to fight and it’s going to be a hard fight.” And you know what, he didn’t sound nervous, he didn’t sound scared, he didn’t sound upset, very calmly. It was a choice decision. He gives us free will. And when he gave me the choice, if you want to live, you’re going to have to fight. It’s going to be a hard fight. The pain was too much. I said no. I left a third and final time. My heart stopped again, went up to the roof, the tunnel opened up. I got in the tunnel. And as I’m going I could hear a call, I remember like the zeal of a baby Christian. She keeps praying and she prays me back to life the third time. When I came back in, I was not happy with this woman at all, when I came back in the third time, she is right here looking at me, and she says, “Mister, you’re on the verge of life and death. What do you have to fight for? Do you have a wife? Do you have children?” I knew instinctively inside of me God was speaking through her and he was reminding about my wife, my four young small children, and I couldn’t fight for myself, but I could fight for them. And so I ended up getting med-flighted, doctors—
SID: I’ll tell you what. Hold that thought. I told you this is one of the most verifiable creative miracles I have ever, ever, ever investigated. History Channel even did a special on him. We’ll be back.