Life does a good job of distracting me, of keeping my mind and heart apart from each other. But this past week, in those moments of stillness when my mind has had a chance to wander a bit, it goes to a place of horror and torment. The toes of my imagination have dangled in waters not even the demons want to swim in.
At the LifeLight music festival last weekend, I had the privilege of hearing Bill Wiese speak about his trip to Hell and back. It was awful. But I believe every word he shared. Heaven and Hell are part of the foundation of my faith, as is Christ, who can choose to reveal whatever He wants to whomever He chooses. I have no doubt this man visited Hell in a vision, and I have no doubt what he describes is just as physical as the chair I am sitting on. Bill's experience has made the unseen world more tangible to me, and because of this, my heart trembles at the thought of any human being spending eternity in Hell.
Hell is hot, beyond temperatures any living being can survive. But in Hell, the heat doesn't kill you. Because you're already dead.
In Hell your body is weak, exponentially weaker than what the worst bout of flu does to you. You can hardly move your body, because on earth it is God who provides your strength (Ex 15:2). You can't turn to God for strength because it is too late. You are already dead.
Hell is full of gruesome demons who hate you and physically beat and shred your body. At the start of creation, God created man in His image. Demons hate God. Because you're made in the image of God, they by default hate you. But their beatings will never kill you. Because you're already dead.
In Hell you don't bleed, even though demons rip chunks of flesh from your body. There is no blood in Hell, because "the life of a creature is in the blood" (Lev 17:11). You will never bleed to death because you have no blood to bleed. You're already dead.
In Hell your body is consumed by fire. You feel every ounce of pain. But like the burning bush (Ex 3:2), your flesh never burns. There is no water to quench the fire, because there is no water in Hell. You never burn to death. Because you're already dead.
In Hell you can't breathe, even though your lungs scream for oxygen. You gasp for air like an asthmatic, except the asthmatic can still (though laboriously) overpower the inflammation in his lungs and take life-giving breaths. In Hell your lungs never inflate because on earth you breathe the "breath of life" (Gen 2:7); in Hell there is no life. You are already dead.
In Hell your body is consumed with maggots. They crawl and wriggle and chew and gnaw, and they never stop (Isa 66:24) because your flesh will never be fully consumed. For your flesh to be fully consumed, you would have to reach a point of death. But it is impossible to die. You are already dead.
Hell is a place of fear, worse than darkest nightmare you've ever experienced. There is no comfort, because only God gives comfort (Isa 49:13). You are consumed with a terror that never ends. You will never wake up from it. You can't. You are already dead.
In Hell you are devoid of all hope, and this is the worst torment of all. Hell is just as eternal as Heaven. Once you reach Hell, it is too late. Every torment you experience is made more painful with the knowledge that there is no end in sight, no relief, no break, no second chance...no hope.
You see, Hell is a place completely devoid of God and His attributes. We don't realize the extent to which He infiltrates our daily earthly lives, evil-filled as they are. He gives us water, breath, light, strength, protection, healing, comfort, peace, hope. He is the Sustainer of all life. He holds back evil so that it never completely overpowers.
In Hell, no part of God is present. Demons reign and unleash unchecked evil and terror. Torment is constant and permanent. Life is completely and utterly absent...and you exist in this state for all eternity, just as real as everything is for you right now.
I deserve this Hell. So do you. Every single one of us deserves to spend eternity in this place, because every single one of us has sinned against a perfectly holy God. Sin cannot exist in the presence of God. But by His incredible grace, through Jesus, He offered us a way to become pure and perfect before Him. Those of us who believe He did this and receive His gift of grace also receive the gift of Heaven, which is as wonderful as Hell is horrible.
I'm going to Heaven. I want you to go with me.
It scares me to think you might not.