Mark Twain once said “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company”. People laugh and find that and a dozen other hell quotes funny, making it sound as if hell is the place to be, to belly up at the bar and wait for your friends to join in the biggest party of eternity. “Woo what a ride” you might picture yourself saying.
Regardless of who will be there, I know of One who will not, and that is God Himself. When you think about who God IS, what comes to mind?
- God is light (1 John 1:5)
- God is love (1 John 4:8)
- God is merciful, gracious, and righteous (Psalms 116:5)
- God is just (Psalms 7:11)
- God is kind (Joel 2:13)
- God is our Healer (Isaiah 53:5, Psalms 147:3)
- God is our Redeemer (Isaiah 47:4)
- God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9)
- God is our shelter (Psalms 61:3)
- God is truth and life (John 14:6)
Knowing now just a few of the attributes used to describe who God is, and with the understanding He will not be in hell, then we can safely conclude that in hell there will be no love, no light, no mercy, no justice, no kindness, no healing, no redemption, no one who is faithful, no shelter, no truth, and no life – only death.
I recently had the opportunity to listen to a webcast given by John Bevere on the subject of one of his books titled “Driven by Eternity”. His focus was twofold: the decisions we make for Christ here in this life would directly impact two things: Where we will spend eternity as well as how we will spend eternity. What he impressed upon me really well was the length of eternity. We cannot grasp it because it is infinite, and we have finite minds. But one analogy he used was effective nonetheless, supposing the decisions we made during the next 24 hours would impact where we lived our lives, how we lived our lives, who our neighbors would be, what our view was, and so on, for the next thousand years.
If we knew that to be true then of course it would affect the way we would spend the next 24 hours! But even that is finite and not nearly comparable to the length of our life on this earth verses the eternity we all face after we leave this body. Why then, do we live as though this life does not matter? Why would we ever joke about an eternity that separated us from the very presence of God Himself?
The bible says what does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world but lose his soul (Mark 8:36)? I see people today who are not only doing this very thing, but running hard after it! They are gaining all they can in this life at the expense of not just their own souls but often of everyone else and everything else around them. And for what? So they can belly up to the bar and expect to party in a place void of light and love and all that is good? For me, it puts a new perspective on how I spend this life and the things I choose to place value on, and makes me feel sorrowful for those I see heading down a destructive path. They have no idea what awaits them.
Why have we bought into the lie that a “good time” cannot be synonymous with a good God? When will we admit the emptiness of the places we so often choose to “belly up” to in order to hang out with all our “friends”? Why not belly up to God, and get our fill of Him instead (Ephesians 5:18)? The bible says “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8)! Amazing! To know I can spend eternity with the One who healed my brokenness, redeemed my life from the pit, saved my soul, fills me with love and joy, takes away my shame, and has set a path before me, gives my life purpose and meaning not only here on this earth but also throughout eternity as well. That, my friends, is what gets me going!
You see, we cannot take with us any of the recognition or fame or material wealth or glory that we acquire from this world when we die. Even all the Egyptian Kings and Princes that were buried with all their wealth were not able to do this, as it was all still sitting there, waiting to be discovered thousands of years later.
St. Augustine said this about God: “Thou has formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.” I have found this to be truth. This life was given to us by God Himself. What we do with it is our choice. What we fill it with is our choice. It is our free will to do with as we please. But if we try to fill it with things outside of God, we will die restless and will have wasted our opportunity to store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven that no man can steal (Matthew 6:20).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16