Absolute Darkness

When you think of the word “dark,” what sort of mental images do you see? I suspect that we’ve all got a little different perspective on what the word “dark” really means, because we’ve had different experiences in our lives that we base those mental images on. Many of us, when we think of darkness, see images of barely perceptible objects, like the furniture that you almost trip over if you get out of bed in the middle of the night. Others see images of hopping on one foot after failing to see that furniture.

I was in the lower foyer of our little tri-level house when it happened. The lower level doesn’t have many windows, and the ones that are there are small and curtain-covered. It was nighttime, around 7:45 PM, so there were lights on in the family room. There were also lights on in the laundry room, on one side of the foyer, the “cat bathroom,” a converted closet on the other side of the foyer, and the overhead light in the foyer was on, too, as I’d just finished vacuuming some dirt that had gotten on the carpet.

It came without warning. There was no thunder, no bangs or booms, just sudden and unexpected darkness as our electrical power failed. Where I was, it was darkness that was thick, black, silent, and, I must admit, a bit frightening. It was almost like you could feel the darkness, like a thick black soup, enveloping your very being. It sent chills through me, as I froze in place, and tried to get past the disorientation and shock of this sudden, unexpected, absolute absence of light.

One of the theories about what Hell is like describes it as absolute darkness. This is based on 1 John 1:5, which says that “…God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” Hell, being the absolute absence of God, would therefore be the absolute absence of light—the same sort of cold, deep, awful darkness that I suddenly experienced when our electricity failed. I am confident that I will never personally experience hell, because Jesus Christ has saved me and promised me eternal life with Him. But, I can say without a moment’s doubt that if hell is anything like those moments of utter darkness, if I wasn’t saved, I’d have been on my knees in a heartbeat.

None of us really knows what it is to be in a place with absolutely nothing of the presence of God. I’ve been in some pretty ungodly places in my lifetime, but even in the darkest of those moments, God was there, offering grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation to any and all who would receive it. In the most hopeless of situations, God was there offering hope for all who would call on Him. There’s really nothing that we have experienced in this life—not even last night’s plunge into darkness—that even comes close to the cold, endless darkness of an existence where God is not in any way present, nor will He ever be. I think that must be the absolute worst possible sensation in all of the universe.

But, nobody has to experience it. That’s the best news of all. It’s totally, absolutely optional, and anyone who ends up experiencing that dark, miserable eternity does so by their own choice. God has gone out of His way to offer you and I that choice–eternal life and light, or eternal death and darkness.

It’s up to you to make your choice. To me, it’s a pretty easy pick.

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