“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
– Luke 16:19-31
When my wife read the title, she immediately thought of the 60s definition of ‘cool’, the fad word of the day for wonderful beyond words. She’s right. We might just recover from sensory overload once we reach Heaven and say, “Cool, Man!” But I wasn’t going in that direction. Oops, just did.
This is sort of an open prayer. You’ve heard of open letters. Why not an open prayer?
Dear Precious Lord, I grew up in the sweltering South. My parents did not believe in air conditioning, and something within my physical make-up made living in heat to be utterly painful. I have no idea how many times I could have suffered from heat exhaustion, going undiagnosed, because that was just the way it was. It was hot outside, so you got hot.
Lord, in my teenage years, sinus problems were added to the suffering, but you know that. I would have horrible headaches. My breathing was affected. My nose ran about ten out of twelve months of the year. What does that have to do with being hot? Everything that I was most allergic to, like all forms of grass pollen, grew in the spring and summer. If I had any relief from sinus problems, it was the winter.
I bring up the sinus and allergy problems, Lord, because I have been sick enough to go to the doctor twice this summer with sinus woes. I have been tending to my wife after her open-heart surgery. She now refuses to be in the same room with me in case my latest bout is contagious. Okay, she covers her nose and mouth if she needs me.
To be honest with you, Lord, this latest bout reminds me of my teenage years in that the pain has been more intense – that intensity that you seem to feel in your teenage years.
We have lived in Pennsylvania for over twenty years. We have enjoyed the weather for the most part, hardly a day in the summer over 90, but this summer has possibly been the hottest of those years. I am not blaming it on Global Warming, Climate Change, or the El Nino that seems to be moving in. There were far too many days this year above 90 degrees F. For the past week, we could have moved to Texas to cool off. Usually September is a warm month where we live, but I am tired of the heat this year.
Lord, this heat got me to thinking about the parable above. I can relate to the rich man. Could someone give me something that would cool the fire, for only a moment.
There are references to cooling as being a comfort in Proverbs 25 and in Jeremiah 18. Then in Revelation 20:10, the lake of fire is said to be the second death. There is no cooling, no comfort from that.
Lord, is Heaven the opposite of the lake of fire? Is it cool there?
So, for now, I can only dream of winter, and a few days of cool weather. But I can dream long-term in going to Heaven. It may not be cool there – maybe just right, but You, oh Lord, will bring me comfort.
In Thy Name I pray,
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.