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Death Grip on a Mirage

Loving Jesus is our ticket to Heaven.

Way back in the mid-1990s, I was part of a cast of actors who participated in a traveling show called “Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames”. It is a dramatization of what happens when someone dies. Do they go to Heaven, or do they go to Hell?

My part in the play was a scene where a married couple is flying to meet with family or go on vacation. I don’t remember exactly. The wife is a believer in Jesus Christ, but the husband refuses to make up his mind and continues to mock his wife’s belief.

Then the plane crashes and the wife is escorted away by Angels from Heaven. But the husband is dragged away by Demons. I have been acting since before high school, and I can assure you that this role was the hardest part I have ever played, both physically and emotionally. I wanted to do the best I could, so I asked myself what I would feel like if I knew I was going to go to Hell instead of Heaven. The hard part was imagining the finality of that situation. The realization there were no more chances to change my mind. My throat was sore every night after our performance. The play was scheduled for one weekend but ended up going for three weekends, completely sold out, and our church holds up to 1,300 people.

I don’t suggest that anyone put themselves through that level of exercise to make certain they emotionally understand what they intellectually settled on, whether for God or not. Probably an unbeliever would avoid that subject completely. I rarely think about those performances now, just because of the intensity of those memories. But when I do, those moments of reflection remind me of the incredible story behind discovering the Truth of who Jesus is. It reminds me of where I would have ended up if my wife, Nancy, hadn’t been persistent in her attempts to get me to open my eyes.

These days, I almost exclusively write about my incredibly loving and joyful relationship with my Creator, my Savior Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I have tried to illustrate some out-of-the-ordinary ways God gets my attention. My usual experience has been simply The Lord expressing His love for, encouraging, or teaching me — firmly — something important that I was avoiding or didn’t want to do. Very rarely have I received any prophetic insight into the world or current events.

I don’t think I have ever written a story about God passing judgment on mankind. Or trying to write something that would scare someone into the Kingdom. I surrendered to Jesus because His presence was the Peace and Truth I had been looking for my entire life. He didn’t scare me by forcing me to choose between doors 1, 2, or 3. No, I encountered the presence of My Savior in the most natural supernatural experience that I can’t find words for. Excuse the following pun, “I guess you have to be there…”

So, I have to be honest. Does fear of our future consequences play a part in all of this? Yes, but I believe it is only in so far as to get your attention. After all, wouldn’t you want to know if something like Hell might be your future? I suppose you could ignore that as a mythical horror story originating thousands of years ago. Or it could spark a bit of curiosity about the truthfulness of that possibility. I wanted to know more. I started reading some books that gave good illustrations of Heaven and Hell in a basic and imaginative way. What caught my attention was when I read the Bible. My inner spirit started jumping for joy. This is the Truth. This is what life is all about.

But, for a very long time, I lived a life of Godlessness. I was raised an Atheist. I thought I was a good person. After all, I hadn’t murdered anyone, right? I had been conditioned to believe that if you believed in Jesus, you were simple-minded. And, of course, I didn’t want to be seen that way, so I avoided the subject at any cost. But life has its ways of forcing you to change. Forcing you to survive. In my case, Jesus enabled me to recognize that what we call reality is a mirage. There is a true reality. I was looking for true love in a world of decaying illusions. The world looks good at first glance, but a place where you will not find anything of eternal value. It’s a mirage.

Unfortunately, the consequence of stubbornly maintaining that death grip on the mirage, is death. Spiritual death. That stubbornness in the end will prove to cost you only one thing. Your soul.

What does Heaven and Hell look like? There are lots of videos on Facebook of people who have died and been to Heaven. Then, they returned and tried to describe what and who they saw. Remarkably, many of those descriptions are very similar to a place of love and redemption, and much more beauty than can be described with worldly words.

There are also videos of those taken to Hell and somehow managed to come back. I haven’t watched many of those. I did watch one of a man — a surfer — who was stung over five times by one of the most venomous jellyfish in existence. The story is amazingly grueling as he tries to get to a hospital. When he finally gets there, he dies on the gurney. He finds himself in total darkness, where people are crying and screaming. He could sense he was alive, but he couldn’t feel anything physical. The only thing he could describe as tangible was the intensity of the fear and desperation. This place is called the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Fortunately, the story ends when he remembers his mother’s advice to cry out to Jesus if he ever finds himself in a desperate situation. So he yelled Jesus’s name, and a shaft of light stabbed through the darkness and took him out of that place, and he woke up in the morgue of the hospital.

Perhaps you can see why I write about my relationship with Jesus the way I do. With a little help from my wife, I managed to get close enough to see the mirage for what it was: an Illusion. For anyone desperately looking for truth and love, ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you. He promises,

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13

This world is scary enough without horror stories. Especially ones that are true. Loving Jesus is not foolish. Loving Jesus is the door to a solid eternal reality.

Salvation – Eternal Life in Less Than 150 Words

Please Read/Respond to Comments – on Medium

AuthorDerek Hastings | BCWorldview.org 


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