I set up the radio studio for another overnight shift.
I pulled on the chair’s lever to raise my seat before I touched the middle computer monitor sending the first song on today’s music play list into the USA.
I had my show prep outline sheet at my right side, my “I luv Radio” coffee mug, and water bottle at my left … within easy reach.
I’m ready to go. My first break was in seven minutes.
It was then the red light on the phone flashed …
“Thanks for calling … what can I do for you?”
Usually the call was for a song request, or someone wanting to add someone to the prayer list, or a frequent listener just saying, “Hiya.”
But not this time.
“So Lee, whaddaya think, is there a place called hell?”
I chuckled. “Yeah, there’ve been a few times I felt like I’ve visited there (smile) … who am I talking to?”
“This is James.”
“James I’ll give you my opinion, alright?”
“Let me give you mine first. I don’t think there is a hell because a good God wouldn’t have made such a place.”
“So, do you think there is a heaven?” I took a medium swallow of coffee. It burned the back of my throat. I fought off a gag and cough.
“How do you get there?” I reached for my water bottle to cool the burn.
Okay, sure, I like the idea of living in a fun place where I’m forever happy. I resist thinking about the alternative. What helpful words could I say to James? Maybe, interesting James but actually a good God doesn’t send you to hell, you do.
Or perhaps, as I read in a survey recently: Is there a hell? And then the survey gave a multiple choice of possible answers: A) No, B) Yes, C) Not sure, or D) No, because there is no god.
Or I could use the Bible. Matthew 10: 28 gives a pretty clear answer: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Or how about Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16?
“Well James, I’d say there is more to it than just dying.”
There is a hell and hell is in fact being disconnected from God without the possibility of being reconnected.
Hell is a place of no return.
(What do you say?).
When people called the radio station or sent an email, I soon discovered that what they most often wanted was reassurance that what they believed about God, and what had been promised in the Bible, was in fact true.
So, I found that affirming someone’s faith became a meaningful activity. Meaningful because there is so much disconcerting noise in our world.
Obviously there are those who hold on to the objection that faith is silly. In other words, there is no God so why bother.
But something inside all of us knows this isn’t true. The Master gardener planted a God-thought in our heart. The Planter nurtures this God-thought.
Still, defiantly, we profess doubts. We hope heaven is in our future and we’re not sure there is a hell.
I understand that hell isn’t a feel-good idea. We don’t want to dwell on hell or go there, even in our thinking. But as uncomfortable as the idea is, we ought to ponder hell anyway.
Actually, I’m not saying there is a hell. It isn’t my idea. Jesus says there is a hell.
What we must do at this point then, is make a choice about whether we believe Jesus is credible or not.
I believe, for one, Jesus is credible.
Thanks for listening to Lee’s Nite Radio.
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