“Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” So wrote Dante in the 14th century as he did his best to describe hell.
I have found, at least in my personal experience, that Satan doesn’t tempt me (often) to “recklessly run off a cliff” i.e. do something that I know would hurt or kill me. He’s too smart for that.
What Satan does is much more subtle. Insidious. Ingenious. He simply methodically, little-by-little, dulls my awareness to the presence & power of God. It’s the “frog in the kettle” analogy.
Since Jordan passed away, this has been Satan’s primary strategy with me.
Early on, Satan was having tremendous success – you’ll remember the numerous “cries for help” I posted on Facebook. You immediately responded with prayer to the King and, as the angel Gabriel told Daniel, “As soon as you began to pray an answer was given.” (9:23) Almost immediately, my heart rate would slow, my breathing would return to normal, and i could, again, recognize the presence & power of God.
I don’t have these attacks as much anymore. But, I did have one yesterday (12/26). In hindsight, I had worked so hard to prepare my mind for our first Christmas without Jordan that, the morning after Christmas, I was emotionally spent – and Satan (who never takes a “day off”) was waiting.
I began losing my mind – which I’ve found to be a sort of “psychological hell” (panic-attack, rapid heart rate, paranoia, fear, confusion, etc.) I didn’t even have the presence of mind to ask for prayer on FB. But, my family fought for me. More specifically, what they did was “invite God into the battle” and then – the battle was over
James, the half-brother of Jesus, rightly wrote, “The fervent prayer of the righteous is powerful….” (5:16b)
I believe in hell as much as I believe in heaven. After all, Jesus spoke often about hell. We don’t hear the topic of hell preached very often from church pulpits. Maybe we should.
Jesus describes hell in terrifying ways. But, i wonder if part of hell – the “complete and absolute separation from God” part of hell – is the worst part of all. As I began to regain my mind yesterday, recognizing again the presence & power of God Almighty who is also my very personal Savior & Shepherd, I wondered, “What if there were no ‘regaining my mind’? What if the confusion, rage & terror that flooded my mind this morning never subsided?? Ever?!”
That would be hell.
To all of you, as you continue to write notes, messages, texts, etc., telling me you’re praying for me/us – THANK YOU. It matters.
“His mercies are new every morning.” (Lam. 3:22-23)
I love you all, Nick
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Hallelujah