Or maybe I should say, sometimes it’s hard to conceive of Hell. It’s certainly been that way for me this week.

Although I’m on high doses of Vicodin, I’ve been experiencing some pretty severe (though not unexpected) post-op pain. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve been malefully (and unsuccessfuly), attempting to cut down the medication. (Can someone explain why we men do this to ourselves?)

I’ve been trying to figure out how to describe the pain. My family can tell how bad it is by looking at my face, posture, and gait; and maybe by listening to some extremely rare groans and gasps. But how do you write about it? Once you’ve said it’s very, very, very sore, what’s left to say?

And I ask this, because I’ve been thinking a lot about Hell this week. I’ve actually had worse pain in my life before, twice, but it’s never made me think about Hell as it did this week.

If this pain is limited in extent to one part of my body, limited in intensity by medication, and limited in time by the eventual healing processes (soon please), what must the pains of Hell be like?

Unlimited extent, unlimited intensity, and unlimited time.

All over and all through, unmedicated and unmitigated, forever and forever.

Especially forever.


That’s more than a week, more than a year, more than a decade, more than a million years.

Is sin that bad? Is God that holy?

Could it be said that if we’ve never ever struggled to believe in/conceive of Hell, we’ve never come close to grasping its enormity? Could it also be said that if we reject Hell, we’ve never grasped the depth of our own sin or the height of God’s holiness?

That’s where my own thoughts began to find some rest this week – in a deeper sense of what my sin is and in a more awesome sense of who God is. But final rest came in seeing Christ as my Hell-sufferer.

I would have paid quite a lot of money to have someone suffer even some of my pain this week, even an hour’s worth. Google search produced no results – for once. But Christ has suffered all of my Hell-pain.

And I didn’t have to pay him a dime.

Indeed, He searched for me.

  • M. Trawick

    Oh, Dr. Murray, Your comments today have described my condition perfectly. How does one deal with chronic pain caused by multiple sclerosis and nerve pain in the cervical neck? Also, after 2 critical surgeries in 2011, I was INDEED made to think of hell and the unlentless pain and suffering FOREVER!!
    I, too, am on high doses of pain meds (multiple), but I COULD find more relief if I increased one in particular, which I tried for a month. HOWEVER, I was a zombie and could not even pray; so by grace, I took up my cross and asked the doc to reduce it again.
    I don’t think it’s your “maleness” that wants to reduce the meds; we have to be able to commune with our Lord which I’ve proven one cannot do when in a zombie state. We learn obedience by the things we suffer, do we not? I praise God for giving me some pain relief; but am struggling with the “happy (?!) medium” to allow me communion and fellowship with Him. Am anxious to hear how you deal with this issue.

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Really sorry to hear about your pain, Mary. You’re right, there’s a happy medium somewhere with medication, but it’s difficult to find.

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