When I write this, it’s Friday, October 26, 2018. I’ve shared a little bit in posts and with others that lately I’ve been pretty overwhelmed. Anxiety. Fear. Worry. Uncertainty of the future. The whole kit an kaboodle (anyone else use that phrase, I thought it was one word, that’s how my family says it xD)
Today, I decided to join my husband as he went to campus for his class. It’s actually my old “stomping grounds.” I graduated from this university five years ago. And when we first started looking at the school and the area last year, I really felt excited because I wanted to connect with the town again. But when we were looking and moved I lost that connection.
I lived there as a student but I’m not a student anymore. My ties to the university are not like they were when I was a student.
I get it. It’s not personal. It’s how the college experience works. We’re in school for a period of time, but then we’re supposed to move on. My ties to the location were cut. The nostalgia, I felt was placed back into a memory box. Until today.
I’ve felt a battle with darkness, with my vulnerability. Problems in life take precedence with my worry. It’s crippling sometimes. My weakness becomes consuming. Today, I wondered about the distance I’ve felt with God, not with Him, but me. I know I’m not as strong in my weakness as I have been with God before.
Today, I decided to bring a book with me.
23 Minutes In Hell by Bill Wiese.
Basically, this is an account of Bill going to Hell.
UPDATE: Added 10/29/2020- I no longer believe in his account being legit, however, I do appreciate how the book made me think about what it would mean to be completely separated from God, and all the little things I take for granted.
As we drove to the university, it was a cloudy day and I kept wondering about other times I’ve been worried or dealing with hard circumstances. How, despite the fear, in those times I felt that connection to God.
When we got to campus, my husband out of the blue asked if I felt odd or any connection to being back. I relied on past feelings, we had visited the campus before and that connection was gone as I shared. So I answered, “No.”
Right after I answered my husband, as we started walking around, those feelings unlocked the box. I remembered many moments of walking on the campus. The places I had been while praying to God. How He helped me when I was on campus. It was where I first decided to create the book series. It was where He helped me forgive past hurts from toxic friendships. It was where I wanted to draw closer to Him just like when I was 13.
And for some reason, He allowed me to be filled with those memories. Something I desperately wanted last year and did not receive. But now…there they were.
Then we went inside a building I had many memories in. More nostalgia hit. I was walking towards a set of tables and I saw myself preparing right before my Math final. I spent three days straight studying, that’s all I did. I passed but I clung to God during that time. Desperately crying out to Him.
We walked to the second floor and went to an area that was encompassed by large windows, you could see outside, and the campus is beautifully detailed with trees. When my husband went to his class, I pulled out the book.
I’m almost halfway through it. There was a lot of statements made that made me pause, think, and pray about.
Hell is very real, and what Bill made clear was the separation from God and life itself. No oxygen. No water. Constant pain. No breaks. No sleep. No communication with anyone. All suffer. That’s all that happens. Suffering and pain. Heat that should have killed on the spot, but in Hell death escapes. People are basically on the verge of death, dying always in the worst possible way. But they never die.
Bill pointed out how everything was basically dirt and rock, no light aside from what fire revealed. No more trees. Nothing that had life. Nothing representing hope. Hope was gone. Completely.
From where I was sitting trees surrounded me.
It was then I realized even in the darkest moment I could ever go through in life on earth. The worst pain. The worst heartache.
It was nothing compared to Hell.
I was surrounded by trees. I could breathe in air. I could experience cold and embrace warmth. Even with financial issues. Even when people are hurting me. Even when I struggle with fear or worry. Even when pain (physical or mental) has me crying out on the floor. I’m still surrounded by blessings. I can see the hand of God active.
As I shared with my friend, in Hell everything is meant to hurt you. But on earth, no matter what we experience, the world is not 100% focused on hurting us. Sin exists. Darkness is prevalent but it cannot touch us 100% to the full extent it could.
Looking out the window, I saw people walking and my heart was moved to pray for them. God reminded me and shown me how important it is to ask for His hand in our lives and others. To understand the reality of how dire everything is.
I think it’s easy for us to say Hell is scary and Christ saves us from it. But I don’t think we really realize the magnitude of what that means. I agree with the book, in the beginning, it mentioned how we shy away from talking about Hell. We don’t always talk about wickedness or evil. Or when we do it’s watered down, and how we are exposed to evil is watered down.
We need to talk.
I went to the university thinking of how I wanted to draw closer to God and He answered me in many ways. He used Hell to teach me A LOT of stuff I can’t all cover in this post.
I felt disconnected, God reminded me I was not separated.
I felt alone, God probably laughed.
I needed to be awakened from the callous numbness I was living, the foggy glaze over my eyes. I needed that reminder of how just powerful and strong He is. How supernatural His grace, mercy, and love is for us.
And I hope to share more of what He put on my heart soon with this blog.
❤ My circumstances have not changed. I still deal with fear and worry, for sure. But it really felt like, as the hymn, He pulled me out of deep miry clay. He pulled me out of my thoughts and lies of darkness. I was reminded God’s plan is far greater than what I can see. There is so much around me happening exactly according to His will and He knows how it all will work out. It’s not about me understanding Him, rather, just trusting Him.
Those in Jesus Christ are connected with Him even when we don’t feel Him. We are showered in His love regardless of what happens in our life and the pain we feel. It’s easy to say He doesn’t care when we have trees around us and can breathe in air. Our circumstances dictate our heart and our thoughts about God.
But when we are cloaked in darkness and unbearable pain in which every second is too long and we beg for death but never reach it.
That changes everything.
What we took for granted…is gone. Just a passing moment.
The pain of this world is nothing compared to the utter devastating pain of Hell.
We need to spend every day and waking second with Christ because this world is a distraction for us. A deception ready to make us think twice about prayer, reading scripture, and drawing closer to God.
I have a lot of work to do.
Monthly Scripture – (NIV) Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
*** Community Prayers | October ’18 – Join Me In Praying For Each Other And If You Have A Request To Add Let Me Know.
Second Blog: Peeking Beneath