Talk about heaven and hell. Two weeks ago, against every ounce of fear in me, we started/joined a Life Team…a Bible study group.
When it came to the question of “what are we going to talk about” we decided to discuss the previous sermons.
In the month of January, the sermon series has been about the book of Revelation. I love this book. My favourite verse is in there.
I could read it a million times. This past Sunday the pastor talked about the final two chapters – 21 and 22.
These chapters are all about the beauty of heaven. As someone who struggles with depression and fights dark thoughts, I’ve latched onto these verses.
Heaven sounds so beautiful. In my dark times, I ache to go there. I want to exit this world and enter that one. It can hurt too much here.
Anyways, during Life Team we got to talking about heaven and hell…what we pictured heaven to be like, what we imagined hell to be.
Sure, maybe there is an actual component of fire in hell, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
But someone shared that they thought the worst part of hell was being completely separated from God…forever.
Yes, that would be terrible. But then it hit me.
I know what would be the worst part of hell…at least for me.
All of Revelation is filled with angels, elders, and people worshipping God. Constantly. There is so much of God’s glory to take in that there is always something to praise him for. It’s unending.
Our eternal purpose there is to worship God because we will never have a reason to stop but, rather, we will have reason after new reason after another reason, to continue to praise him over and over.
And then there is hell. Hell won’t even be like earth, where there are distracting careers, people, occasions, events, tvs, phones…anything we occupy our brains with here. There’s none of that.
But…there’s also no God there. So if we have none of our usual distractions, and we don’t have a good reason to exist,like worshipping God, what the heck is there to do in hell?
What is someone’s purpose in hell?
There is nothing! No wonder there will be weeping and gnashing and fighting. There is nothing. It is an eternity of not having any purpose…no reason for existing. Forever. It will never end.
In my darkest days of depression, what often tortures me the most is that I don’t see my purpose. I feel purposeless. Pointless. Hopeless.
I can’t come up with any reason as to why taking another breath would be of value to anybody. I may as well not.
These are horrible times for me. I know I’m not the only one who has felt this. But the good thing about earth is that it always comes in waves.
Depression crashes into me like a wave forcing me to the bottom of despair…but eventually a fresh wave also lifts me back up to the surface…a breath of fresh air…before I’m crashed into again.
Compared to hell, I’m thankful for the wave-motion of life on earth. Ebbing and flowing but always in motion.
But in hell, there is no motion.
There is no where to go. There is no fresh wave to lift you back up. No fresh air. Just crash after crash, keeping you at the lowest darkest point.
As disturbing as this may sound, there isn’t even suicide in hell.
In my dark moments here, though I hope you nor I ever make this choice, there is always the choice to take action and end these feelings here. To get out.
There’s no suicide in hell. It’s permanent. It is forever. A jump off a cliff has a bottomless descent.
I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine spending endless eternity…no end in sight ever…feeling like I feel on my darkest days here. No.
Feeling darker than what I think is dark here. It has to be even darker in hell. There’s no spark of hope there.
Here there are sparks. Lots of them.
And in heaven…forget sparks. We won’t even need a sun because God’s glory will be so blinding.
So there are choices. Endless purposeless or endless worship because there will be one amazing thing after another.
We will be with this amazing God that we were never able to fathom on earth. And now we have forever to try to grasp it all.
Yes. I choose that.
And that can start right now. I’m only just beginning to find out that my purpose here is to worship God too.
Sometimes the amazing things aren’t blaringly obvious like they will be in heaven, but that just means we spend some of our time searching and the rest of the time, praising God for what we find.
But worship nonetheless.
Earth is just the opening act.
Heaven is the real deal.
“He who testifies to these things says,
‘Yes, I am coming soon.’
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
How often I have pleaded that.
Come, Lord Jesus.
But for now, I’ve made my choice.
And I will do my best to not waste the opportunities here.