It’s a scary thing to watch someone go headlong down into the pit of hell. You probably know that place as well as I do. And it’s not been so long ago since I was there.
The last time I went, I shrunk to the floor in a heap. Tears were coming in great floods and I had no hope at all. There was not even one point of light shining for me in the distance. Nothing was left. And Fear screamed into the darkness which was blacker than any black. Death waited with open arms. And pain was worse than any known.
I was shocked at my arrival because I hadn’t known there was an actual place of burning and torture for us in this present existence.
And I said to Father (whom I couldn’t see or hear at the time) “If you don’t do something, I’m a goner. I won’t survive this one.”
I had no will to live. Hell had surpassed anything I could bear and I was going down fast.
This isn’t “pretend hell”, or a precursor. This is hell. The one I’d been warned about all my life. And even though I’d been told that if I believed in God, I’d never see hell, it wasn’t true.
We all go there sometime. And it’s right here in this lifetime. It isn’t in eternity. And it’s not where we go if we don’t believe. It’s where we can’t see Him or hear Him, and every Hope has left the building.
Hell is very real. It burns everything in its fire and brimstone where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It isn’t where we go for punishment. Its what happens when we fail completely and life falls totally apart. Our tapestry unravels and there is nothing but searing pain.
But, my Lord has already been there. And He didn’t flinch because I was going. He simply stepped up to me while I couldn’t reach out to Him. Then He lifted His arms because I couldn’t lift mine.
He said, “Look, I want to show you something.”
And because I had no will, I looked up, and went with Him where He wanted to take me.
That was the first time I saw heaven.
And looking back, it seems odd that the first time I saw heaven, was when I’d gone to hell.
But that’s what hell is for. Everything is loss and my false savior, my Self, is burned to death.
It’s the moment when Jesus could truly prove Himself to me. When He could move matter and heal the darkness. It’s when I saw my greatest hope had nothing to do with my failure and everything to do with my emptiness.
Finally, in my greatest weakness, He could do it all for me.
This is why Jesus went to the cross. So that when I fell and burned alive, He could give me the best gift of Life. Resurrection.
He knew its where I’d come eventually when everything I’d worked so hard to believe, and accomplish, became nothing. And nothing was left.
Only Him. Then He rose from His grave for me, and moved His hand. And Life was born.
He IS the miracle, the Life. There is nothing else.
This Life is the Joy.
But it’s still hard to watch someone else going down.
I try to reach down and pull them up. But most of the time Jesus is the only one who can reach that deep into the darkness.
So, I pray like Jesus prayed for Peter. That their faith will hold like the last knot we tie in the rope. And that afterward, after hell has done it’s worst, they will strengthen others with the knowledge that we can be saved. Because everytime, Jesus is there.
If I hadn’t gone into my pit of hell, I probably could have never experienced the glories of heaven.
My false savior who couldn’t stop trying to achieve, or accomplish, or access heaven on my own, had to fail and then burn. Because there is no path to heaven through my own abilities. Only through Jesus saving me from hell.
From that death, He gave me Life. And changed me. More than once.
It’s a frightening journey and if you’ve gone there, I’ll pray Jesus’s prayer for you. That your faith will hold like the knot in the end of your rope.
There is Hope and Resurrection. And He still loves to save us and show us heaven.