What If There Were 30 Minutes Of Sorrow In Heaven?
By Joe DiBella
I am sure most of you have heard of the books '23 Minutes in Hell’ and '90 Minutes in Heaven’. One book tells the story of one man's trip to hell and the fury he saw. The other tells of one man's trip to heaven and the glory he saw. Both men came back with a message of biblical proportion. Hell sucks and Heaven doesn't. Lately I have been thinking of a theoretical idea that all Christians should delve into. What if upon death we were given 30 minutes of sorrow in heaven? What if God allowed us to see the souls we missed touching? What if I were to feel the sorrow of my own selfish causes for 30 minutes before entering perfect glory? What would I do differently now if I thought this was a possibility? How would I prioritize souls in my dog eat dog, go go go lifestyle. Although only a theory, I hope you can soak it in as a fact so you can discover the essence of the idea.
I remember once asking somebody “Is there sorrow in heaven? Will we have regret, sorrow or sadness when discovering people we cared about are not with us?" They replied to the tune of, "No, heaven is without sorrow or regret." That got me thinking. I wondered how it would be possible to go to heaven and look around and see someone you love is missing and not find that heart wrenching. But for all intensive purposes it appears that sorrow will cease to exist in heaven. Nothing in the Bible portrays sorrows as an emotion in heaven. Revelations and Isaiah say that God will wipe every tear from our eye. But what if there was a verse in the bible that said upon entering heaven you will for a brief time realize the time you wasted, withholding the truth?
Everyone has a date of death on their tombstone. But there is also a date that we don't know of that will never appear on any headstone. There is one day in time,probably long after you die, that the last person who ever knew you will die. That will be the day of your true death on earth. Think about it. After that 'second death' ,your life will no longer have any first hand impact resounding in this world. The only thing we can do on earth that will last forever is for Christ. And there is no arguing that,believer or not.
This idea I propose in and of itself in reality is moot. Now that you’re dead any amount of sadness laid on you won't give you an opportunity to reach out to these lost souls. But theoretically speaking doesn't the concept blow your mind? What if God could just get you to believe this '30 minutes of sorrow' would occur upon entering heaven? Would it change your mind about your house, your car, your job, your entertainment...your life?
I find it interesting that one of the most awkward things to do sometimes is bring up Jesus and the path to him with the unsaved. Why is this that when we know the ultimate truth that so many lesser things flow from our tongues with much greater ease? After all when the ultimate truth is known, isn't that the trump card by which conversation should flow?
I can honestly say this. The only thing I know for sure in this crazy world is there is a God. I take honor in being able to say I know that for sure. The very truism I hold about God's existence is so often what people say they can't grasp. The Lord has privileged me in my 13 years of physical suffering to show me his existence. I once watched him reboot my computer and output random characters on the dos screen on cue at my plea for proof he was there.
The very day I went quit poker and started working full time,I heard and felt God’s presence for 45 seconds or so, in an auditory and gravitational experience that could only be described as perfect. He was showing me how proud he was of me for dropping gambling and listening to him. I went to work that night and told my unsaved friend about my out of body heavenly experience. He asked me to pray for his brother who was suffering from Schizophrenia and hadn’t left his room in 6 months. I went home and prayed for him and the next time I saw him he told me “Man whatever crazy stuff your doing keep it up. My brother came out of his room and asked to watch T.V. yesterday. He hasn’t come out of his room to the living room in over six months.” How real is Jesus?
Once upon nearly dying in the hospital I felt urged to share testimony with the church about how lucky I was to be alive still. I was hesitant and timid about it that Sunday morning however. The worship team was playing as people got prayed for. As I sat there I thought of a song that I wanted to hear them play. I said in my head that if they played that specific song, I would go up and share testimony. Sure enough the next song they played was that song. I didn’t go up though, but said in my head to God if the next song was a specific song I would go up. Again, sure enough the next song was the song I was thinking of. And yet again I didn’t go up due to fear of public speech. Finally I thought of a third specific song I wanted played, and sure enough, the next song was that song. I finally went up and shared. It doesn't get more real then that. That was April 29,2001. Divine moments like that were few and far between back then. God does this type of stuff in my life all the time now though.
I can give you countless other similar stories of how real God has shown himself to be in my life. Yet even in knowing all this and putting it on paper here, for some reason I don't dedicate every moment I can to telling unsaved people of his truth. Why is this? It frustrates me. Sensibly I should quit my job, sell my stuff, and strictly try to reach the unsaved. Why does my “sensibility” so often come out as a secular equation?
So,What if for 30 minutes we saw a slide show of every face of the unsaved people that passed through our lives,not knowing whether they ever got saved or not.Just knowing we didn't try.This theory of' 30 minutes of sorrow in heaven' is a fallacy. But its concept should dominate our lives.
I have a friend who used to pull allot of girls in his youth. We could never understand how he always was with someone,while we sat single. Then one day he explained that he goes out to clubs and just starts dancing with girls incessantly. He gets rejected a huge percent of the time. But his persistence, dedication, and the laws of mathematics landed him a girl almost every time out. Sometimes I wish this was the approach I would take with reaching out to the unsaved. It's hard to be rejected. And many times your words of ministry will fall on deaf ears. But keep dancing and eventually your going to get one. One soul is worth a plethora of rejection right?
As I sit here I am saying to myself that it's probably not realistic to think that Christians should be dedicating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ministry of the unsaved. It often blows my mind to think of the fact I won't be upset in heaven when I look around and realize "Loved one John Doe” is not here. On the contrary, I know that there is joy in heaven. And I can imagine seeing someone you reached out to and brought to Christ will be among the most joyous occasions in the afterlife.
So I presented a problem in our mindsets here and also want to suggest a resolution. Pray for souls to fall into your lap. If you only ask, God will put together the divine appointments and give you the words to say. It's frustrating that I can sit with an unsaved person and find in my earthly compulsion that I am quicker to bring up the topic of ‘Who won the game’ much more comfortably and easily then, ' Are you interested in being happy forever when you die?'
Since I quit gambling in October I have seen God bring 5 people to Christ. Despite my illogical fear of feeling awkward or rejected, the first time I told an unsaved person the way to heaven they were open to it. As a matter of fact allot of the people I have told didn't even know that you needed to accept Christ as your Lord and savior to go to heaven. There are people out there that think that good deeds get you to heaven and we often write them off as ‘misled’. Have you ever considered that they are not misled at all? What if they just didn’t know?
Let's say we spent 24 hours a day 7 days a week attempting to lead someone to Christ. And that one time a day, you got someone to pray the prayer of Salvation. Over a 50 year span you would bring 18,250 people to eternal happiness. Would you look back on your death bed and think of these 18 thousand plus souls and have one ounce of regret? Would you sit there saying "I wish I watched more T.V." or, "I wish I made more money?” What if you spent 24/7 for 50 years and only saw one person achieve salvation. Any regrets? I mean you spent 50 years straight and only one person's eternal destiny was altered. Surely it must have been a waste of time right? On the flip side if you lay on your death bed without having changed a soul,is there a chance you will you regret how your time was spent?
I understand the concept is hard to grasp. I know that if I had an opportunity at a "Normal" life I probably wouldn't be thinking on this level. I always wondered why I got so sick,so young. Why everyone around me was carrying on with college, marriage and children and I was stuck in a civil war against nearly every vital function of my body. It was only recently I discovered why God allowed me to have an abnormal last decade. He didn't put sickness in my body,but once it happened he wanted to use it for good. Every blessing and curse is your own choice. You’re never in a terrible place unless you choose to let yourself be.
In writing this I thought about all the time we as Christians spend intermingling amongst believers. We spend so much time with other saved people. And that’s great. I do think we easily forget why we are here. I wish churches had more classes with direct teachings on how to reach the unsaved. In reality reaching the unsaved and untaught should not only be the most important thing we do, but also the most prevalent. I dare to say we should be dedicating all of our free time to this. Sound crazy? Maybe. But what if there was indeed a slide show of all the people you never reached out to? 30 minutes of sorrow preceding infinite joy. Do you know a “slide show” candidate? Do you love one? Thankfully this 30 minute span will never occur. It would be too painful. So in light of 30 minutes that will never occur, I ask you to believe that it absolutely will. The person sitting next to you could have much more then 30 minutes counting on it.