In a vision, Jesus took me to Hell. It was like a terrible, life-changing accident. You know how when an accident happens, you keep replaying over in your mind what you could have done differently? I have replayed August 28th over and over at least 1,000 times, if not more. “Oh God, what did I do wrong? Why did this happen to me?”
Because I have looked at this accident so much, I know many little details that have been etched into my memory. Many of them are unimportant, but I have memorized them nonetheless. I have looked for every little decision or detail that resulted in the worst day of my entire lifeand possibly the most life-giving day for myself.
It is important to note that what I share here all happened instantly. It wasnt an orderly progression, but Ive tried to lay it out in an orderly fashion here.
How it Began
I worked for the evangelism department at the International House of Prayer, now called the Kansas City Evangelists Fellowship (KCEF). That morning we were in our weekly two-hour evangelism meeting.
As the meeting began with worship, I was standing at the back of the room. Before I can enter into worship in a heart-connect way, let alone in spirit and truth (see John 4:24), I have to tell my body, You will worship God. So that day I raised my hands to God and I sung loudly to Him. I engaged my mind to worship Jesus by contemplating the beauty of His love and the magnificence of His dying on the Cross for me. I let my emotions worship Him, which allows my heart to open to Him.
The worship leader was helping us pray for our lost family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. To really get a sustained heart for lost people, I have found I have to make it personal. I have to truly think about what it would be like for my lost family members to not make it to Heaven. When we think about someone we love not being in Heaven, it creates a real sadness and if we think about it long enough, it creates a desperation. These thoughts allow us to identify with a real emotion for the people we love. Because its such a negative emotion to experience, most people dont go there. Evangelists are willing to expose their hearts to let Gods truth and urgency shape us. We dont like the down emotion either, but by allowing it we become more tenderized to the eternal truth for lost souls. Then, sharing about Jesus becomes essential and very personal.
As we sang an evangelistic song, I felt the presence of holiness come into the room. The song gripped me and just seemed to add to the excitement I already felt. The music was captivating and took me to what I will call a worship place. The feeling in the room was the same as other times that I had been invited to come away with the Lord to visit Heaven. I knew I was being invited to go in the spirit. The holiness had come for me. I said, Yes."
Transported to Hell
Then, all of a sudden, the front of the room opened up. I instantly opened my eyes and saw the transformation as it happened. The Hell realm unlocked and I heard massive gates creak open and I felt extreme heat enter the room. I looked with my eyes wide open and I saw Hell through the gates. I saw it! I was shocked that it was right there. Wasnt it supposed to be in the center of the earth or below us? To say I panicked is an understatement!
Worship and prayer continued around me. The people were oblivious that Hell was at the front of the room. I watched those ominous gates open as I watched the people worshiping. The two places, the meeting room and Hell were together.
I frantically looked to see who might help me. The others didnt see the gates, hear that sound, or feel the heat. Instinctively, I started screaming. I felt the sound of fear coming from my own body. I knew that my spirit was being demanded to submit. As I screamed, my spirit was also making a sound that deeply hurt my heart and brain while it also panicked every blood cell in my body.
Something came flying past the gates of Hell. It was coming for me. It was like an arm without fingers that grabbed me and sucked me into Hell. The arm was very powerful. It was attached to me like a suction cup in the area of my chest and began dragging me further into Hell. As quickly as it shot out from Hell, it just as quickly moved back. I tried to pull back and break the hold it had on me but it was too powerful.
Before I could blink, I knew thisit was too late. The gates slammed shut with a terrible sound of finality. I knew there was no man on this side or that who could ever open those gates. Only Jesus could because He owns Hell.
Inside the Gates
I passed through gates that trapped the darkness inside. The first thing I knew when I got there: I was in Hell. The realization that I was in Hell was unquestionably shocking and beyond hurtful! I dont know how to explain just how panicked I was, although you may understand a bit if youve ever been lost.
It was like that but more dire. I was like a child and I had no plan. I panicked like no other panic I have ever experienced in my entire life. In fact, I knew that if I could add up every panic I have ever felt, it didnt come close to what I was experiencing.
Someone said to me, Laurie, you are in Hell!
Oh my God! I answered.
I knew many things all at once. As I break them down to explain each one individually, it gives the false appearance that it was a slow progressive onslaught. But everything was immediate. For the sake of explanation, I knew three things firstI was in Hell, eternally, for unforgiveness.
Once the understanding of the judgment arrived in my heart there were four distinct pains:
WaterImmediately, all the water left my body, creating a desperate, painful need.
Bone marrowIn an instant my bones turned black.
BreathThe first breath allowed fire to touch everything in me and be carried throughout my body.
AgreementAgreeing with the judgement that Hell is where I belonged removed my humanity.
Before that day, I had not studied much about Hell. I believed it was real because I believe the whole Bible is true, but I didnt think that anybody like me would ever go there. I also knew about the Bibles stance on unforgiveness. Although I knew, it was just easier to hold on to unforgiveness. I mean, with time, unforgiveness had become part of me. I would never have thought unforgiveness could take a person to Hell. My view was swiftly changed.
A Relational Problem
In Hell, I knew and understood the Bible perfectly. Every word of God that I had ever read was now completely clear. And I knew exactly how much I had disobeyed in comparison to my biblical understanding. I was keenly aware of everything about myself and my body. Stuff like my blood moving, my eyes seeing, and how all parts of my body work. I have never been in such awe of the creation of a human body. Everything I learned in eighth grade science I recalled perfectly. But even more, a supernatural knowledge filled in the blanks that I did not already know.
My knowledge about Hell, from the Scriptures, was also at the front of my awareness. I knew that everything I had read was true. All heartbreakingly true. I knew all of the scriptures on Hell, how much information was provided to me in the Bible about it, and how those scriptures fit with the rest of the Bible. I was fully awakened to the terrible reality of this place. The panic of knowing that I was in Hell grew. I was not a visitor.
I understood that Hell is a relational issue, not a problem to solve like a math question. A person cannot get out of Hell if they acquire the right answer. Hell was created because of a relational issue. One of the most important things I knew is that Hell wasnt created because of human sin and we dont go to Hell because of one particular sin. We all have sinned (see Rom. 3:23). This isnt just a sin issue. It is a relational issue. Because of the Devil and his disobedience, disrespect, and disregard of God, Hell was created.
We think someone goes to Hell because they sinned, but really it is about disobeying and disrespecting God. The Bible says, Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way (Ps. 2:12). That kiss is about love, affection, and obedience. We think that because people mess up, God sends them to Hell. But that is not true. How can we think God is bad? People go to Hell because they refuse to be in a relationship with God. Hell is about a refusal to love God and have a relationship with Him.
Although God literally forgave me everything, I chose to refuse to forgive certain ones. I was like the unmerciful servant in one of Jesus parables (see Matt. 18:21-35). When the servant refused to forgive the debt and stood before the king again, he was called wicked. It wasnt because he simply made a mistake; it was because he wouldnt enter into the relationship of mercy and grace and obedience to the King. It wasnt only about what a person does; it is all about who they are in their heart.