Heaven Is Not Enough

When I was 6, I was chasing some friends and shouted after them a word that I was not supposed to say. I think it was “crap”. I immediately hit my knees right on the sidewalk and prayed for forgiveness because I didn’t want God’s lightning bolt to get me.

I learned about Jesus when my mother sat me down and told me I needed to have him come into my heart so I could go to heaven when I died. I was 8. Terrified, I repeated the words she gave me to say.

When I was 9, I ended up at Baptist revival meeting. The promises of hell made me doubt what I said in my living room with my mother was enough to do the trick. I mean, a few whispered words on our 70s rainbow-colored velour couch was going to keep me from eternal flames?

If you wanted to save yourself from hell, the preacher asked you to walk forward to a room in the back. I vividly remember that room being brightly lit and the church dark so when they opened the door, it was mighty powerful that I needed to get to the light. But I was too scared.

The door shut. I missed it.  I prayed in my seat hoping that would be enough. I also prayed God would forgive my cowardice. My failure.

But pretty convinced it wasn’t enough. And that God would not forgive such terribleness.

These same kind of hell/fire experiences got me to say the words at summer camp, yet another revival and several Sundays in a row when a particularly gifted preacher was visiting the church we attended when I was in high school. Surely, one of those would work?

Now, I feel reasonably certain I’m going to Heaven. I mean, as much as of us can really know.

But Heaven is not enough to get me to pray. Nor is random lightning bolts (I now say much worse words than crap.).

Death is not motivating.

I find prayer, meditation and church-going a good way to live.

And not just for the eternal kind of living.