Wednesday was a really long day. Not any longer than most of you would have had, but it was long, nonetheless. Nathan and I got home at 7:00. I was hungry - irritated hungry, as most of my friends would call it. I'm about to stick my cold dinner in the microwave and my "7-year old factory of questions" walked into the kitchen and dropped this bomb on me:
"Dad......Do you know anyone in hell?"
As I stood there paralyzed, the first thing that I could muster out of my mouth was, "Buddy, can I eat my dinner first?" And as graciously as always, my little man shot back at me, "Sure Dad. What do you think hell is like?" I quickly discerned I wasn't going to be eating dinner before we had this conversation. So with taco salad in hand, we headed to the couch and talked about it. Over the last day or so I've had several friends ask me, "What did you say? How did you handle this?" So I thought I'd share with you what I told him. Here's a portion of my response:
"Hell is the most horrible place you could ever imagine. It's complete torment."
Nathan: "Torment? What's torment?"
"Torture. Pain. Horrible pain. It's eternal separation from God."
Nathan: "Do you think the people there ever decide, 'I don't want to be here anymore' and decide they want to leave?"
"I'm sure every person there wants to leave. But that doesn't happen. That's why I said it's eternal. And that's why it's so important for us to tell people about Jesus - that He loves them and has saved them from that."
Your kids ask the greatest questions. Their minds don't stop moving and working. They keep you real. And that's what you have to give them: real. That's what they want - they need. REAL. Honest! Even if honest is to look them in the face and tell them, "Buddy, I really don't know the answer to that question."
So, what about the question that started this whole thing? Am I copping out?
"Dad....do you know anyone in hell?" This question should be like a cinder block dropped into our chest - like a brick upside the head. This innocent inquiry should knock me backwards, reminding me that I'm called to live for His Kingdom, to be shining a light in the darkness, to have the same heart that C.T. Studd had when he proclaimed, "Some wish to live within the sound of the chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell!"
Do you know anyone in hell?
Yes. With a broken heart I tell you that I'm pretty sure I do. Do you?