By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS – January 22, 2016) — He was a computer scientist-engineer working on avionics for the F-22 stealth fighter aircraft in 2002 when he suffered a nervous breakdown and a massive automobile crash in which he nearly died.
As his car hurtled through the air and hit a freeway stanchion and a tree that hot August night, God gave him a spectacular vision of the afterlife that changed his life.
“I lost consciousness as my body was tossed around like a rag doll by the impending collision,” says Randall Rathbun, 64.
Rathbun became a Christian in 1969 through the influence of his older brother, who was studying at seminary.
But in his work for TRW in Rancho Bernardo at their Military Electronics Avionics Division, he got bored and distracted, which led him down the wrong path as a believer.
He attended church regularly and was part of a worship team, but something was amiss. “I wish I could say I lived a pure, pristine life, but I wasn’t and that’s what got me in trouble,” he recounts.
“On Saturday evenings I was living a double life. I was going down to San Diego, visiting prostitutes, not realizing I was setting myself up for a very serious encounter with reality.”
He says his wayward sexual activity began on the Internet. “The Internet is just awash with it,” Rathbun notes. “Proverbs says to watch your eyes. I wasn’t watching my eyes; I was allowing them to wander. Plus I was a computer scientist and knew how to access more than most people.”
Rathbun got involved with earthquake research on the side, and developed a friendship with another engineer in Oregon who was building advanced sensors they believed could detect quakes before they happened.
The two men thought California was setting up for an 8.0 quake, and Rathbun warned his general manager at TRW. “I said there’s a big quake coming and I want to alert you ahead of time, but I didn’t have documentation or evidence and I ended up looking very silly, like an alarmist. They didn’t know what to think.”
His supervisor called him in and warned that he was spending too much time on earthquake research and it was affecting his work on the F-22 project. They ordered a psychologist to evaluate him.
“It was very unnerving and I lost it,” he admits. Instead of going to his appointment with the psychologist scheduled at 5 pm on a Friday, he “escaped.”
“I thought my whole career was crushed. I didn’t think the psychologist would understand a single thing about my earthquake research.”
As he drove north on Highway 163 in his Mitsubishi Eclipse toward his home in Escondido, he suffered a nervous breakdown.
A nervous breakdown or mental breakdown is usually temporary in nature, and often tied to psychological burnout, severe overwork, or other stresses that may temporarily overwhelm someone who is otherwise sound mentally.
As his car raced ahead at high speed, he thought he heard a voice telling him to take his hands off the wheel. By the time he put his hands back on the wheel it was too late. The car was out of control, went off the shoulder, and hurtled into the freeway stanchion and a eucalyptus tree.
“Suddenly I awoke to find myself arising about 20 feet above my car, but bound in chains,” Rathbun recounts. “I struggled with all my might to break free, but it was totally useless.”
He could not imagine where he was. Then he began to fall. “The sensation of falling continued to grow as I picked up speed. It felt like an elevator in free fall. I could sense that my descent was quickening, faster and faster.”
He was not prepared for what happened next. “An extremely loud scream burst right beside my head.” The scream was so loud, it almost deafened him.
“It was a voice that was screaming like a jet engine… an angry defiant voice…
And I recognized what it now was saying…”
“He’s mine, he’s mine,” the voice screamed. “His name is liar, liar, liar, and I am taking him to the Lake of Fire.”
Photo captions: Randall Rathbun. 2) Rathbun’s Mitsubishi Eclipse after his accident. 3) Mark Ellis.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is senior correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), and also founder of www.GodReports.com, a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world. He is also co-host for “Windows on the World” with ANS founder, Dan Wooding, on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv).
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net).