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I don’t speak of dark things very often because there are enough hellish things going on right here on earth and it is far better to feed the Light and focus on the positive. Salt purifies, preserves, flavors. Rejoice and again I say rejoice.  Those are 3 rejoices by the way, in perfect measure. Re-joy, as in do joy a second time. And yet again, rejoice. I love that, a 3 part harmony.

Anyway, for many years God covered my eyes, built a hedge of protection around me, kept me wrapped in a  bubble of bliss, like a child snuggled under the covers, having no worries about the monsters in the closet or under the bed. That was so kind, so protective, because I grew up within a lot of new age cultian junk, a lot of occult activity, a lot of dabbling and not so dabbling in assorted forms of spirituality. To make matters more complicated, I can be very sensitive to spiritual things, good or bad. The bad I generally just try to ignore.

For some reason God turned my eyes back on, ever so gently I might add, but it was really quite terrifying. Most inconvenient too, and a bit amusing, because I attempted to explain that I simply don’t believe in such things, things right in front of me. Many people don’t, even Christians, because acknowledging that there really is a dark side is scary and unpleasant. Many of us speak of the enemy in a detached, abstract way, and we speak of hell more as a metaphor. Some do not even believe in hell and I was there for some 30 years, so I don’t criticize. God shows us what we need to know, when we need to know it.

When I was kid there was this tangled up, twisted, slithery thing I used to call knots, that would plague me in my dreams and hover about at the edge of my vision when I was awake. I ignored it, avoided it, pretended I didn’t see it. Sometimes it would shake me awake and it always tried to give me these scary visions of destruction, slaughter, just pointless waste, meaningless violence, night terrors, but sometimes I was awake.

I got really good at ignoring the knots, grew up, and forgot all about them. Several years ago I had a profound spiritual experience, hard to even put into words, things my human brain can’t even process to this day, but God kept waking me up at night, calling to me, and suddenly the knots came back and I knew I was supposed to look into them, confront them, see what was within them. It wasn’t easy, it took weeks, months perhaps, and I got very sleep deprived, but eventually I relented.

When I finally looked inside those knots I encountered such condemnation, such hatred, such accusation, beyond anything this world can ever produce. It was the most horrible, awful thing I’ve ever experienced, and the knots just kept telling me I was a liar and a betrayer and unworthy, and they were bottomless knots too, just this swirling dark abyss I was being pulled into, crushed in, as if the darkness had weight. That sense of having  so much hatred and condemnation directed my way is so hard to describe, it was beyond anything the world can ever dish out and I became aware of the fact that I was really going to lose my mind, go insane if it lasted ten more seconds.

So I completely collapsed and called out to Jesus Christ, something I’ve done dozens of times before, but perhaps never quite with this same sense of despair and desperation, never so keenly aware that I was really toast without Him. I didn’t even expect a rescue, I figured I was done for, but there He was instantly, bedazzling, beautiful, and powerful, unbelievably powerful. Authority, Godly authority, so hard to describe, terrifying yes, but just lovely too, like coming home or gulping down a cool drink of water. There just aren’t words. He is like a fragrance you have long since forgotten, that tantalizes the edge of your memory somewhere.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” That’s the truth. Even if you catch just a glimpse, smell just a whiff of that beautiful fragrance, words will elude you, your brain will defy you. It is beyond our ability to even imagine. He is beyond our ability to even imagine.

It’s an odd juxtaposition, the longest night of my life, the worst thing that ever happened to me, and yet also the most beautiful. I was greatly blessed by having been forced to peek into that abyss, not because of what was lurking there, but because of that rescue, because He is in the darkness too, and even when all is lost, He will scoop you up, throw you a life ring, if you call out to Him.

The churchian world has an interesting relationship with dark things, there are some who see them everywhere, but they don’t really know them at all, and there are some who refuse to see them at all. What I think is often missing is that powerful and profound understanding of Godly authority, of what it really means in our lives and perhaps in our after lives. I just did not know Him fully until I completely lost myself, fell into those knots and admitted the dark things really do exist.

It’s interesting to me, I still walk in that ju ju world, the one that embraces every imaginable form of spirituality, from the crystals to the jinn living within them, but heaven forbid you ever do anything totally weird or socially unacceptable, like become a somewhat charismatic Christian who fully embraces those gifts of the spirit, who accepts that God is as real today as He was in the old testament. A God who, if He so wills, can still make donkeys talk to you, hands write on a wall, and healings happen. That can take a lot of trust, that can be scary stuff, and there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing, but I guess once you fall into that abyss of crushing darkness not only do you lose your fear of death, you tend to lose your fear of people too. Perspective has a way of doing that to us.

So yes, hell is real and there are some things much worst than death. There is good news there too however, we are much loved and protected, by a God who died to know us, a God who gave His life to experience what we experience, and to pave the path before us.