The other day I heard that a friend’s relative was dying and would likely die soon. Later that morning I heard the news that he had died. He did not believe in Jesus.
As hard as it is to know that someone is suffering physical misery in this life and as much as we may end up desiring that the Lord allow them to die so that they can be relieved of it in the here and now, there is no comparison between the temporal pain experienced here on earth and the eternal horrors of those who are rightfully punished for rejecting the God who made them. “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
Not only are the tortures of hell horrific, but the future of its inhabitants is hopeless. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, no bright sunrise following the night, no happy tomorrows that can erase today’s agonies. Hell has no pleasant surprises. It is predictable, guaranteed, and inescapable. Hell is a hopeless place.
Hope gives us strength. It enables us to persevere in the face of massive and mounting odds. It gives us a sense of purpose when life seems aimless, a sense of joy when we’re called to labor, and a sense of resignation in our sufferings. Even in the darkest, blackest night, the candle of Christian hope cannot be fully extinguished. It will flicker and grow dim, but it will never go out. But there is none of this in hell.
The ten thousand tomorrows of hell will be as miserable as its ten thousand yesterdays. Take a Hubble telescope and look as far into hell’s future as you can see. You will not find a ray of hope.
Look at hell. Think about it. Close your eyes and imagine it. Smell it. It will expose the emptiness of your gratitude, the thrill of free redemption, and the urgency of making disciples. I am never more sobered than when I consider hell, and never more awakened than when someone goes there. It’s hard to think about for long, but it just might be that the less you think about it, the more people will end up there.
Your neighbor is going there. Your brother is going there. Your father is going there. Your co-workers and your friends and your relatives are going there. Most of us have at least dozens and at most thousands of people in our lives that will be separated from God forever, dying but never dying in what the Bible calls a lake of fire. They will be hopeless.
This is not the only reason to share Christ, but it is the starkest and the most bleak. There are many things in life that don’t matter, and a few things that do. This is one that matters. Say something.