Essay, Research Paper
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
I had just gotten in form milking the cows and serving breakfast to my family. It was a hot day in late June and I was already late for church. I bustled about the house gathering my belongings, my children, and just trying to look my Sunday best. My husband and two children were finally ready to go so we headed to our local church about a mile down the road. As we took out usual seats in the third pew, Minister Jonathan Edwards came steeped up to the plain podium. He began, There is nothing between you and Hell but air… The statement, though logical, sent shivers through my body. He continued speaking of our ignorance taking God for granted. It was only God s gentle hand that kept us from falling into the fiery pits of Hell. The illusion of our wickedness and benightedness weighing us down further and further toward damnation were streaming out of his mouth. The accusations he was making caused some to shutter at his mere words.
There are black clouds of God s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, he boomed. I sat back in terror imagining the once gentle and understanding God that I had known now transforming into a bitter disgruntled authority. The minister compared the Lord s great wrath to that of a storm, something that I can say all of us can relate to. Its power and anger have the ability to destroy us all instantly, but God chooses to keep us alive by the good his heart. A pang of guilt was stabbing me in the heart as I tried to hold back tears. I realized then that maybe I couldn t be saved. I had committed so many sins and crimes, some of them unintentional.
The bow of God s wrath is bent, and the arrow is made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the pure pleasure of God, that of an angry God, Jonathan Edwards roared. It was then that I began to cry. I began sobbing, praying for redemption and forgiveness. The path I chose in life was that of sin and I was sure that God would never excuse me. The minister paid no attention to the hysteria he was creating and continued to rant and rave.
Oh sinner! he declared. Consider the fearful danger you are in: tis a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit. Sweat ran down his face as he pounded on his bible that sat in front of him. His words felt like a knife stabbing my heart. It all seemed so logical though; after all we wer abandoning everything that we stood for. We were abandoning our Lord. The minister spoke of the many who are now experiencing hell. The reasons I ll be sent there are much worse of those who have already died. There is nothing I can do, nothing I can say that changes God s feelings towards me. Tears streamed down my reddened cheeks, my hands were flying in frenzy.
What would not those poor damned, helpless souls give for just one day s opportunity such as you now enjoy. I felt selfish and corrupt. Those poor souls are just victims of others mistakes, carrying out eternity-long sentences for crimes they didn t commit.
Edwards paused momentarily, looking about the hysterical church, wiping his forehead. His expression and voice had changed. And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in the door calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners. Of course I thought, I can still be saved! I can pray for forgiveness and mercy. The minister went on by telling to us how others in Massachusetts were being born again. It was a time of awakening, a time to restart out lives and relive our faith. We can be saved just as the people of Sodom have. It was an inspiring day that hot Sunday morning, a day that I m sure never to forget.