Two Trains: the Glory Train is bound for Heaven; the Long Black train is bound for Hell. And every person on earth buys their ticket on one train or the other. It’s a matter of personal choice!
So, what’s it like to be a resident of Hell? The Bible gives us two images of what Hell is like: (1) Hell is a place of total darkness, “blacker than a hundred midnights down in a cypress swamp.” (2) Hell is the location of the “lake of fire,” a trash dump that is constantly burning. So, how does one reconcile darkness and fire?
The residents of Hell live in total darkness. One cannot see their own hand in front of their face. They live in constant fear of running into something or someone; fear of getting hurt. They live in complete isolation: isolated from the Light; isolated from one another and from all relationships; isolated and all alone.
At the same time, Hell’s residents are on fire; feeling a burning sensation – as if they were suffering from 3rd-degree burns. They are in constant pain; their suffering is intense. Thus, the saying: “You will burn in Hell!”
We cannot see and we’re burning up! We’re burning with desire. We want everything so badly, but we’re not able to have anything; yet, the desire persists. We are burning with pride. We’re not satisfied with who we are or with what we are; not satisfied with the way God created us. We want to be someone we were not intended to be — and it’s not possible.
We’re burning up with greed. We’re always grasping for more; and it’s never enough. Even if we had everything, we’d want more; not realizing that if we had it all, there would not be any more.
We’re burning up with lust. We’ve indulged in every sexual pleasure; yet, we’re never satisfied. We have felt no love; we have felt nothing at all. We are burning with rage. We are frustrated and angry! And we take out our rage in acts of violence and abuse against every other person in Hell — just as they take out their rage on us. And we’re scared and afraid for our safety.
Finally, we’re burning with regret. Knowing now that we could have been in Heaven; knowing that we should have bought tickets on the Glory Train. Knowing that the darkness and chaos will last for all eternity; knowing that the burning and the intense pain will never cease. And that regret gnaws at us like a worm gnawing at a green leaf.
SO, who in this world would want to go to Hell? No one! Folks, rather, believe Satan’s lies: Lie #1 + There is no God. Lie #2 + Since there is no God, there is no Heaven nor Hell. Lie #3 + This lifetime is all you have; so live like you want to.
Make up your own rules. Live according to you own definition of truth. Accept lies and deceit and corruption and selfishness as a normal way of life.
Lie #4 + Indulge in every abnormal sexual pleasure, and label it normal. Lie #5 + Even if there were a God, He would never condemn you to Hell; so not to worry. Lie #6 + Ride the Long Black Train and it will take you to Paradise. Millions of people all around the world are being conned by Satan’s lies — and will wind up in Hell!
As for me, I choose to believe Jesus Christ! For He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! I will not believe Satan’s lies, because Hell is not a place I’d choose to be.
I choose Heaven; I hope you will too!
By Dr. Don Kuehle
(Dr. Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist pastor in Missouri.)