n 1977, Foreman participated in a boxing match in Puerto Rico against the skilled opponent Jimmy Young, The fight lasted for 12 rounds and resulted in Foreman losing in a decision. After the fight, Foreman returned to his hot, stuffy dressing room. The building's air-conditioning wasn't working that night, and it was intensely hot and smothering. Still running on adrenalin, Foreman paced back and forth in the room trying to cool down. Sweat pouring down his face and chest, he had never been so hot in his life. Suddenly, he was overcome with the fear that he was about to die. In Foreman's autobiography, God in My Corner: A Spiritual Memoir, Foreman wrote: "I had heard about boxers dying after big fights. Was I next? That's not going to happen to me! I assured myself." Then an otherworldly voice interrupted his thoughts, "You believe in God. Why are you afraid to die?" This voice only terrified Foreman even more. In fact, the heavy weight champion of the world said he had never been so afraid in his life. He believed in God, but not in religion which he thought was only for the "pitiful".
With death staring him in the face, Foreman had a life review where he saw "favorite things that had happened during my life, recalling them like a video tape running fast-forward, as though I knew somehow that it was about to end." At this point, Foreman was crying and trying to make a financial deal with the voice. Foreman was very rich at the time and he bargained that he would give his money to poor. The voice replied, "I don't want your money. I want YOU!" Finally, Foreman said, "God, I believe in You -- but not enough to die." It was then that Foreman collapsed to the floor and had an out-of-body experience. It was later determined he was suffering from exhausting and had a heatstroke.
God in My Corner: A Spiritual MemoirForeman described his NDE as follows: "Instantly I was transported into a deep, dark void, like a bottomless pit ... I was suspended in emptiness, with nothing over my head or under my feet ... This was a place of total isolation, cut off from everything and everyone ... It can only be described as a vacant space of extreme hopelessness ... I knew I was dead, and this wasn't heaven ... Sorrow beyond description engulfed my soul, more than anyone could ever imagine ... If you multiplied every disturbing and frightening thought that you've ever had during your entire life, that wouldn't come close to the panic I felt ... Although I couldn't see anyone, I was aware of other people in this terrible place -- The place reeked with the putrid smell of death ... This place was a vacuum without light, love, or happiness ... In that place, I had no hope for tomorrow -- or of ever getting out."
Then Foreman screamed with all his might, "I don't care if this is death. I still believe there's a God!" Instantly, what appeared to be a gigantic hand reached down into the darkness and pulled Foreman out of the void. With that, he suddenly found himself back in his body on the table in the dressing room. He awoke with great joy! He was no longer in hell; and God had rescued him. While on the table, Foreman suddenly had a vision of Jesus standing over him, thorns on his head, and blood dripping on Foreman's head. Upon seeing this, Foreman described an intense born-again experience: "Every hostile emotion had been drained out of me, and a spigot of God's love had been turned on inside me, filling me up, and overflowing out of me." To the total surprise of everyone in the dressing room, Foreman suddenly sat straight up and yelled at the top of his lungs, "Jesus Christ is coming alive in me!" Jumping off the table and overcome with an intense love for everyone, Foreman then hugged everyone in the room -- telling them how much he loved them. Everyone, most of whom had known Foreman for years, didn't know what to think about this unusual behavior. It was so out of character for him; he wouldn't stop talking about Jesus, and no one could shut him up. He was now praising the name of Jesus, the name everyone had only heard him use in vain. His doctor / friend tried to explain it away by telling him, "George, you just got your bell rung."
Since his NDE, Foreman says he is no longer afraid of dying and has found great peace and happiness with himself and God. Foreman eventually stopped boxing and became an ordained minister, initially preaching on street corners before becoming the reverend at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Houston and devoting himself to his family and his congregation. He also opened a youth center bearing his name. Foreman continues to share his conversion experience on Christian television broadcasts such as The 700 Club and the Trinity Broadcasting Network and later joked that Jimmy Young had knocked the devil out of him. Watch a YouTube video presentation of George Foreman discussing his NDE.
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