by Christine Berglund
The Farmer’s Almanac warned us. This was expected to be a hot, dry summer. Plants like Portulaca Grandiflora don’t seem to need the constant watering that becomes the daily chore for the part-time gardener, robbing her of quality time in the garden just to keep her precious plants alive for another day.
When I planted the pink ”Moss Rose” it was with this thought in mind; if I neglected the one-hour evening ritual of hydrating my plants, I would at least be greeted by a little spot of color as I stepped off my back porch every day.
The lovely succulent plant did not disappoint. While everything else seemed to turn brown and crispy, this little trouper just got bigger and prettier. It didn’t need the twice-daily watering that its companions demanded.
The excess moisture from watering its neighbors was enough to sustain the drought-tolerant Portulaca. It didn’t seem fazed that the temperatures were in the 100’s for days on end. In fact, this relative of the common Purslane performs better the more the sun beats down on it.
So this little native South American flower served its purpose, and I was able to make it through some of the Dog Days of summer with my little desert plant happy and blooming.
What did bother me was the wilting attitude of people around me, comparing the heat to Hell. “Proof that Satan exists,” or “The Devil called and wants his weather back” were some of the phrases, which did not bring a chuckle to me.
Folks, Hell is serious stuff. I didn’t hear anyone asking for somebody to dip their finger in water to just touch it to their tongue like the rich man did in the story of Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).
We all had “Good, good, good, good hydration” as my husband and I sang to the old Beach Boys’ tune as we chugged our water while we worked in the hot sun. Even those of us who braved the heat usually had our cool drinks and relief just a few steps away.
Why compare 110 degree heat to an eternal place of unspeakable horror and pain? This is nothing!
My little Moss Rose would burn up if it got much hotter here, and in Hell there is no beauty, no comfort, no hope whatsoever.
My opinion is that God put these little reminders like the Portulaca here to comfort us and remind us that he is here to care for us no matter how uncomfortable life gets. It’s all temporary anyway, as we travel to our eternal destination.
Most of us don’t like to talk of Hell, but hey, my friends started the conversation. Hell should scare the sin out of you and me!
It is downright alarming to hear jokes about a place that was prepared for the Devil and his angels. It is compared to a “lake of fire.” The fires in the Midwest were frightening enough to my friends who lived near them, and they were terrifying to see on the news even from the comfort of our air-conditioned living rooms.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7 NASB).
Surely these jokes are not really meant to mock God, but they mock the reality of a place where those who are not covered by the blood of Christ will end up — eternally! That’s a long time to be wishing for a drop of water.
When it comes to casual conversation referring to Hell, I have one plea. Don’t go there!