A friend of my mine recently stated, “I’ve been married for twenty-five years, but it feels like twenty-five minutes—underwater.” Knowing my friend, I knew he was joking, and we had a good laugh. Point is, though, everything is relative. Twenty-five minutes is extremely fast when you sit down to eat lunch with a good friend, read a great book, or watch a football game. But if you are underwater for twenty-five minutes, well, we know the result.
Recently, I nearly drowned in a powerful rip current, as unceasing waves crushed and held me underwater for a few seconds. Every second away from life-sustaining oxygen, quickly reminds us of our oft forgotten need.
I believe there are those who convince themselves that time in hell is bearable. That is, life is hard and some have gone through hell on earth. Unfortunately, because of tough events on earth, we think ourselves strong enough to withstand the horrors of hell. What we, as arrogant humans, tend to neglect is that everything is relative. Every second without God will be more torturous than anything a living human can grasp. At least when we are alive, we have the hope of the pain ending one day. As weird as this may sound, I believe it is true. If a shark attacked me, at least I would have the hope the pain would be over soon. In hell, there is no such possibility. Hope is gone; your choice not to accept Christ’s free gift of salvation is your choice made for eternity. God’s wrath will weigh on you with no way to escape (Rev. 1:18).
I write this not to the non-believer, because Christ’s sacrifice is foolishness to those who reject it and are dying (1 Cor. 1:23). I write this to remind fellow Christians their loved ones will spend eternity in anguish with no hope of death or salvation. The truth of a real hell should motivate the believer to action. The reality of separation from God in an actual location of agony must take us past our discomfort and fear of speaking truth, to a place of fearing God more than fearing man. Spread the gospel and take others with you as you enter eternal rest.