So, the other day, in thinking through some of the highs and the lows of my afternoon, a thought crossed my mind. What if our life on earth, among other things, provided us a window, or sample of, Heaven and Hell?
Join me on a thought experiment for just a moment. And, fair disclaimer, this thought process is not really backed by scripture par se.
We can each recall awesome moments in our lives. The thrill of discovering something new, or the wonder of feeling loved by someone else. As my years pass on, I also realize I will never have time to do all I want. I love playing musical instruments, but lack the time to get into one fully. Do not get me started on all the writing and comic projects I have notes for! And, of course, I long to be closer to God, and truly understand Him more. I wish to walk a holy life that seems so far from me now!
What if Heaven had all of this and more? Perhaps it is that place where we have the time to truly explore our hobbies, the arts, and passions we never seem to have time for here. Clearly, we can expect to know God better when we reign beside Him. I imagine that awesome emotions like wonder, amazement and love will abound in His kingdom. I believe we will never feel bored! In a way, these highlights in life may provide just a very small sampling of what awaits us in heaven!
Conversely, we have all experienced pain, sorrow and anguish. The sadness that comes when we lose a loved one or miss an important opportunity can haunt us for life. As a person who suffers from a chronic back issue, I can attest to the agony and depressing effects of constant pain and torment. Even a short pain from a cut or burn can feel excruciating for a time. Guilt from evil deeds committed can haunt us and have a profoundly dark impact on our soul.
Hell may very well feel like all of that, dialed up a few notches. After all, when people reject God, they reject His blessings! Without His love, they are left with loneliness, anger and darkness. Without His healing touch, they may only feel pain and suffering. Without His forgiveness, their minds can only feel the guilt of their sins for all of eternity. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who said that the gates to Hell are locked from within. What if the pain caused by Hell was mostly self inflicted?
Regardless, the thought that the pain and anguish we feel through various experiences in life are only a sample of what we may experience in Hell should sober us. Certainly, we deserve no less when we refuse to repent of the very sins that cause these pains to ourselves and others. God gives us so many opportunities to turn to Him for forgiveness, healing and grace. When we raise our fist in the air and reject Him, do we not get what we deserve in Hell by suffering the pain we inflicted on ourselves and others?
Food for thought! Tell me what you think of this this thought experiment in the comments below.