“Did Goliath go to hell?” I looked at Grace’s big earnest eyes sparkling under the lights of the Christmas tree. Both of our boys sucked in their breath quickly trying not to burst out laughing. Scott also snorted at Grace’s random question. For the past few nights, we have been reading to the kids from their children’s bible and asking them questions to reflect on what we’ve read. We were not reading anything about David and Goliath, but Grace has always loved that story best.
I smiled at her and said, “It’s a fair question.”
Noah and Luke’s jaws dropped open. Luke said, “Mom! She said a bad word!”
“Hell is not a word we should use all the time, but Grace was asking about it in the proper context so, I’m okay with that.
“So you want to know if Goliath went to hell.” I turned my attention back toward Grace. “I have no way of knowing that. He seemed like a pretty nasty guy. I imagine that he had to pay for his sins somehow. But I don’t know how all of that works exactly…I wonder if God keeps the good parts of our souls and destroys the parts that are not good. Maybe Goliath wasn’t all bad.”
Grace looked just as confused as before. So I just opened the little bible to the story of the Three Wise Men and quickly changed the subject.
Her question had me thinking about the concept of hell though. For the past year, I have been struggling with anxiety and depression. It’s the worst it’s ever been for me over the last month. I have woken up to my alarm and wished I hadn’t woken up at all. My body ached with sadness. It felt like I had fallen into a dark pit and there was no way out. Just making the kids’ lunches and getting them out the door to school, pretending like I wasn’t feeling so racked with pain took everything in me. I lost so much weight, Scott was thinking about taking me to the hospital for an IV. It was the scariest feeling I’ve ever had. I was convinced I’d fallen through a blackhole into hell.
I often wonder if maybe this world is hell. If you’ve ever watched the show Stranger Things, it is how I envision the way hell works. It’s this alternate universe where places, and people are exactly where they are now, but everything is coated with these nasty webs and everything is cold and dark. It’s like a veil has been pulled over all that is good and beautiful and gives it this sinister look. Maybe our world is that way. It’s been said that heaven is here now. But maybe we can’t always see it that way because of this veil that covers everything…
**Warning: Tangent Ahead**
We know that all matter in this world is made of atoms moving at varying speeds. Einstein proved that and it’s been verified many times over. Well if everything exists in the form it does because of the energy it generates, maybe that’s why there is good and bad in the world. Some things exist out of love, and others out of fear. Our emotions create energy. Really! It’s been scientifically proven as well. We have the power to create joy and happiness. And we have the power to cause hurt and destruction. So theoretically, we can create both heaven and hell on earth. Can you imagine? We have the power to do that with our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
At our core, we have these divine souls that are created to do great and beautiful things. But wrapped around our souls are these egotistical human bodies that feel pain, sadness, anger, jealousy, and fear. We are given quite a challenge in our human existence to always think and act with love because human emotion is a powerful thing.
And yet, if this messy, broken world we live in is in fact a “hell” of sorts, created by our human suffering, and we can still have these moments of beautiful love and joy all around us, doesn’t that give testimony to how great the power of love really is?
This year has been, without a doubt, the most difficult year of my life emotionally speaking. But there have been these moments that have pierced through the darkness…hearing my kids giggling as they play with each other, holding my baby nephew for the first time when he was born, feeling my heart explode with love when one of my kids hugs me or says, “I love you, Mom.” Scott holding me as I’ve broken down recently and somehow has had exactly the right words to carry me through. Love shines for us through that veil of darkness. Love is our hope of heaven. It is a constant reminder that no matter what we do or how badly we are hurting, love is still there for us. We just have to be open to it and allow it to lead us. We might go off-roading for a while and take some scary detours, but God is still there, shining his light, waiting for us to see it and find our way back to him, back to love.
We have quite a lot of time to spend here on this earth. The opportunities allowed to us are limitless. We are going to fail. We are going to suffer and cause suffering. It’s part of the journey. But we can’t see light without darkness. You cannot know the depth of joy of being found until you’ve been lost. And sometimes we have to fall down to understand that we can do more and live a more joyful existence with grace and love leading the way.
So, no Grace, I don’t know if Goliath went to hell. Maybe he was already there. Maybe the only thing standing between us and hell is love.