Oatmeal and Fire

By Wes Seeliger

Most people picture hell as a lake of fire, with the souls of the damned floating around, screaming in agony. A tough picture but with some Biblical accuracy.

But let me give you a picture of another hell. Imagine a large bowl of oatmeal...cold oatmeal. With lots of lumps. Now picture the Atlantic as an ocean of cold oatmeal. Put yourself in the middle of this oatmeal ocean a mile below the surface. Get the picture? That's hell.

Let's take an imaginary journey into this oatmeal abyss. We're in the middle of the Atlantic hovering over the point of entry. Down we go--plop! Squish, squish, squish, we're descending. The fathoms slowly ooze by--50, 100, 500. At 880 fathoms we reach a state of equilibrium. We rest with arms outstretched in the soft, pulpy mass. The nearest shore is a thousand miles away. We try to swim. Pfoosh, goes an arm. We sink another foot. We try to scream. But our passion of soul earns a mouth full of oatmeal. The years trudge by as we rest in the mire, thinking slow, lizard-like thoughts.

Hell is cold oatmeal. It is life without passion or desire. Hell is numbness as well as pain. Hell is believing there is nothing worth getting excited about. Hell is a swamp of blandness.

Our terror of death is not fear of the unknown. The unknown is exciting. Nor is it the threat of punishment or pain. what then do we fear? We fear looking over our shoulder and seeing what we could have become but didn't. The people we could have loved but didn't. The exciting ideas and challenges of the Word which were just too much for us. Hell is living in the endless ooze of all this nothingness.

But if hell is oatmeal, what is heaven? How about Fire? "John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." (Luke 3:16)

Adapted by Gayle Erwin, Used by permission