Experiencing Hell to Understand Heaven

Four years ago tonight I was far from God. I was in a depression and battling an eating disorder. It was this night though that would change the rest of my life.

I had spent much of that day in bed. I recall skipping class and avoiding friends. I put myself to bed early and said “I was just not feeling good.” People believed me and left me alone. As I slept horrible visions filled my mind. I was either dead, dying, or in hell. Unfortunately it wasn’t the first time I had experienced these but that night they were the strongest they had ever been. I woke terrified and knew I had to talk to my best friend. In 3 minutes she met me in the middle of the quad without shoes on. She had ran from her dorm to me because she knew something was wrong. For what seemed like eternity I sat and tried to explain things to her. I didn’t confess the starving thing to her then but I know she was scared for me. As we talked, our friend came by and what I was experiencing was shared with him. He comforted me and walked me to my RA. My RA was my best friend’s sister and had become someone who I looked up to. As we sat in the office the story was shared. My best friend asked if I could stay with her sister that night, to which she agreed. We all had a big swim meet the next day so it worked out. I remember I still didn’t sleep well that night but got some rest. The next morning I still didn’t eat pushing it off as nerves and on account of still being sick and after a sluggish warmup and some stern talks from friends, I pulled myself from my events except the relay. Swimming that relay was atrocious. We left the meet and headed to Wendy’s where I stayed and slept in the van. My RA brought me a Sprite and crackers. I stayed with her the rest of the day.

Later as we sat and talked, the conversation switched to salvation and knowing in our hearts that we belong to Christ. I left her and spent a few hours reading over scriptures and praying. As I prayed my conversation with God went something like this:

“God am I really yours?”

“Yes, you are, but you have to receive me”

“So I’ve never done that?”

“No, I’m waiting, but you must confess me for yourself and no one else”

As I was praying God led me to this verse:

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

Up until that point I had not sought after God with the fullness of my heart. I had prayed many a prayers but fallen short each time because it never came from my heart.

The heart is what God desires. God placed a calling on His people when He created them before time even began. It was then that He knew who would be His son’s and daughters. Once we are born on this world, we spend part of our life seeking His voice and finding the fullness of Him. For those who He called, you can not resist Him forever. Once I did finally receive Him, I began to see life a new way. I began to understand fully what Heaven would be like. It has taken 4 years for me to fully comprehend this and I will not lie and say that I did not experience other dark times after my conversion, but even then I knew something was pushing me on. That something was the will of God.

This week as my heart drifted back to four years ago, the Lord revealed something to me. The reason for my visions wasn’t to confirm that hell was a real place but was to give life to the agony that comes with a life without Christ.  So this Valentine’s day as many celebrate the love they have with other’s in their life, I celebrate the love I have with my Father and embrace the calling He has placed upon my life.

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