I woke in the middle of the night last night with one thing on my mind… hell.
There’s probably a mixture of reasons why my mind would be consumed with thoughts of hell, but the first is because of the recent death of actor Heath Ledger. My wife was the first one to tell me (via email) that Mr. Ledger was found dead in his apartment and her first words were something along the lines of “…and now he’s in eternity.” Bethany was definitely speaking the truth to me, because yes, he’s entered eternity — somewhere. That somewhere could very well be hell. Though I don’t know the condition of his soul before he passed into eternity, it doesn’t appear that his life reflected one of Christ-like love and affection. And I know that the Bible teaches me that there are only two places to spend eternity: heaven or hell.
The other reason I’m thinking about hell is because of the message my pastor spoke this Sunday morning. He taught on Judas, the Traitor. Basically, he explained how Judas betrayed God in the flesh for 30 pieces of silver, or what today would be twenty bucks. Twenty bucks is all it took for a guy to hand over Jesus to be crucified. Twenty bucks was all it took for Judas to sell his soul to Satan. Unfortunately for Judas, that money didn’t satisfy him and he ended up taking his own life. Now I could sit here all afternoon and talk about these horrible situations and deaths, but let’s get to the point — I’m still thinking about hell.
Hell is a real place, there’s no doubt about it. The Bible says it — I believe it. Luke 16 has a clear message about the reality of hell. It talks about a man who just wanted one drip of water on his tongue to quench the agony of the flame that was consuming him, that is, the flame of hell. I’m convinced that no matter how bad I can contrive hell in my mind that it’s probably a millions times worse. Scratch that — a gazillion times worse.
But last night as I lay in my bed, I couldn’t just think about hell and leave it at that. To dwell on hell is a frightening thing, so I began to pray. I began to pray for the peace of the Holy Spirit to calm me down. I started thinking through who God was and why I know I will be with him in eternity, that is of course because of the work of Jesus Christ. I began to remind myself of what the Bible says and how I know that I am saved beyond a shadow of a doubt. It was then and only then that I found rest. I guess I’m wondering how people sleep at night? How can they sleep while they don’t know where they’ll be in eternity. How can they hear about the tragedies of death on this earth and not think about their own lives? I’m a Christian who knows he’ll be in heaven, but I still think such things!
My wife’s email to me yesterday about Heath Ledger had an interesting ending. She wrote concerning the news, “…It just makes me think we aren’t guaranteed another day of life. Every day is a gift from God. So needless to say, I love you!” She’s 100% right on. No, I’m not guaranteed tomorrow. Yes, every day is from God and sustained by God. All I can do is put my trust in Him and continue to serve Him diligently. Eternity is on the line.