The World Series is over and the Dodgers have now gone 30 years without winning the Fall Classic. For some this is “hell on earth” but for die-hard Giants fans this may be a glimpse of heaven. For Yu Darvish, the beleaguered pitcher for the Dodgers, his anguish over two horrible performances in the World Series is heart-sad to observe. He has apologized and expressed great disappointment to the Dodgers, fans and undoubtedly his family. Some would say he is living in emotional hell right now. This is but a moment in a career that still has its best days ahead unless Darvish chooses to remain in this “place.”
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church many times has stated that life on Earth is practice for when we are face to face with the Creator of the Universe. Thus, loving one another now is practice for when we get to love God in person. This thought, coupled with Pastor Ed’s excellent presentation entitled Is Hell Real? made me think if hell on earth is practice for Hell in Hell. Ed drew the picture that not only is Hell a literal place of eternal punishment but also is a state of being – a present place of living. One key thing Ed pointed to was Hell is a place we choose. And this is true whether it is the literal place (I am fond of calling it the smoking section) or our emotional state of living. It is God’s will that He wants no one to perish (Hebrews 3:9). And even though His desire is not one perish; He has given us the freedom to choose.
I am of the opinion that the greatest pain and suffering Jesus experienced in the crucifixion was the time of separation from God the Father as He bore the sins of all of us. This “hell on earth” encompassed experiencing living as something other than His true nature (sinless) and especially a time in a state of isolation – alone rather than three-in-one. How many of us live in a similar state of life? Do we go through our days feeling this is not who I am or I wasn’t meant for this or why am I doing what I hate to do but still do it? We experience this in our jobs, our families, or our relationships. We want different but it never happens. I submit to you that if this is your plight, you are having a taste of Hell on earth. Life is so complex and our troubles are so diverse and personal but we each choose, we each make decisions and act accordingly in reaction or response. We can choose Hell or we can choose Heaven. It is not a question if there is life after death. It is a question if there is life after birth. Choosing God allows His presence, nature and power to operate in our lives counteracting Hell. Instead of choosing to act in the same way do something different – do the Christ-like thing. I do not know what that specific Christ-like thing in your life is but I know we at GateWay would be more than willing to walk that journey with you. A Connect Small Group is a great place to start.
It has been often quoted that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” I think this is not only insanity but a glimpse of Hell on Earth. Is it time to try something different?