Written by Sarah Comer
In college, I took my first trip to a Judgment House.
Just the sound of it kind of makes me want to throat-punch someone. However, I had never been, and so bored on a weekend, I headed to nearby town for a visit to the Judgment House.
I don’t do haunted houses, so I was a little on edge about what to expect. It was around Halloween, but it was at a church so I figured even if I peed my pants, they probably would be kind enough to give me new ones. Maybe.
After waiting a few minutes, we walked inside a pitch-dark church that I had never visited before. My bearings were immediately gone. I’ll spare the details for anyone who has never been, but I quickly learned the story of someone who was getting a glimpse into Heaven and hell.
I can still hear the shrieks from “hell” today.
I didn’t know where I was, but I can remember every detail of what I saw.
I remember walking through hell thinking, “This is all fake. Don’t be scared. Don’t let anyone see you scared,” as I walked as far from the demon actors as possible. I knew it wasn’t actually hell, but even at nineteen years old I was terrified.
The story progressed all the way to walking up to Jesus.
I remember feeling weird as I gave this stranger a hug.
The whole thing was weird.
However, if I told you the truth, I would tell you that it didn’t matter how real it was or even if it was an accurate portrayal. It gave me visions that lasted me a lifetime and made a difference in my view of worship.
On Sunday, I found myself singing at church “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come.” My ears opened to the voices around me, faded out the lights, faded out the people, faded out the to-do list and time, and just sang along with the united voice surrounding me. “Holy, holy, holy.”
I outstretched my arms as far as they could go, basking in the light of His worthiness. Like it was second nature, I envisioned myself in Heaven, surrounded by angels, singing to the God who deserves every ounce of praise.
As the thought crossed my mind of what it must feel like to have everyone sing your praises, the conviction stung me. Oh, how important I tend to see myself. How I live knowing that God rules over all and is worthy of all of my praise, yet I live for the praises of man. Then, it hit me.
All my adult life, I have tried to work for God and not for man out of my own benefit + relief. I asked myself, “Isn’t expecting their praises of me the same as expecting to take praises away from Him?” I had never thought of it like that. If you know me, you know that words of affirmation are my jam. As much as I want to deny it, people complimenting me + praising me give me life. Sometimes, so much so that I’d say I live for it.
That’s a contradictory lifestyle whether it was intended or not.
Not just because I should live for what God thinks of me + how He defines me, but also because I should be living in a way that all praises go to Him – that no one wastes time praising a speck of dust so little as me.
Judgment Houses are a little out of anyone’s comfort zone, I would think. But, how dearly I want everyone to be able to close their eyes while singing “Holy, holy, holy,” and actually have a vision of reality, a vision of Heaven to grasp onto. The beauty, the sacredness, the royalty of Christ. And how He might feel with all of the creation shouting His praise instead of the praise of themselves.
It changes everything.
He changes everything.
He is everything.
He is so worthy. So worthy to be praised.