As I near the center of the lake there is a deep booming that sounds from the bottom of the lake. The echoes from the sound ripple from shore to shore, coming back to me off the low lying hills. Along with the boom a series of sharper popping and cracking sounds begin that I can feel beneath my feet. Not to be outdone by this cacophony of sounds my heart begins pounding in my chest as I wonder if my next step will leave me floundering in the icy water. But now there is also a different, more muffled sound reaching my ears. I continue to make my way to the center of the lake and the noise becomes more distinct. It is a light pounding, almost a slapping that I hear and it’s coming from directly beneath me.
I look down and all I can see is the milky white surface of the ice. As I continue looking the noise grows increasingly frantic and the ice becomes clearer so that I can see below it. It isn’t the water that I was expecting to see. Instead I’m seeing upturned faces pressed against the underside of the ice. Dozens of faces appear below me with fists pounding, and nails futilely clawing against the bottom of the ice. The faces silently scream in the horror of being trapped beneath the ice with no way to escape. As I continue to stare down at the faces looking back up at me I somehow realize that they aren’t even aware of my presence. They aren’t pounding to get my attention, they are pounding because that is the only thing they can do. The fear and utter horror they feel of where they are drives them in a hysterical desperation to escape. Yet there is no escape, there is no reprieve, where they are they will remain for an eternity and that knowledge brings complete madness. My mind reels as I’m suddenly given the knowledge to understand everything I’m seeing. I not only understand what I’m seeing but I now feel the same heart pounding panic as these faces that I see. I grasp what it is that I’m being shown and that furthers my own fear. I now know that what I’m see is an image of damned souls in Hell. Each one trapped in frozen isolation from the one thing that can bring them, warmth, light and love. They are eternally separated from God. That is what they are frantically trying to get to, and that is what they will try to get to for all eternity. It is with this agonizing realization that I startle myself awake, drenched in a cold sweat.
It’s been years since I had that dream, but the memories and the images have been burned into my mind. Time has not lessened the feelings of horror and dread that I witnessed in that dream, if anything time has further clarified my understanding. I believe that when we die, we will all be given the opportunity to not just see but know who are Creator truly is. We will feel His majesty to our core. Our spirits will leap in recognition. We will feel His majesty fill our entire being to overflowing and we will weep with the indescribable joy of it all. However, for those who never called him Lord, like a candle being snuffed out those feelings will be gone, forever. They will find themselves torn from his presence, cast into an eternity of separation.
Hell is knowing what you could have had. Hell is feeling the Glory of God wash over you (even while being condemned) and then knowing you will never feel anything like it again. Hell is finding yourself alone, without any contact or comfort and where the only solace is the memories of your own pitiful existence played out over and over and over and over till then end of all….
There is no end that’s the hell of it.