Oh, did I type that outloud?
When someone is given a diagnosis of a fatal disease whereby there is no cure, one of the benefits of Medicare is Hospice – or palliative care. What that means is that there is nothing more that Doctors can do, the disease is terminal, they are dying so the best the medical team can do is to offer up the most comfortable options for what is known as the end of life care.
My dad is dying. He was sent home with Hospice yesterday. There is no hope for curing him of his disease that he has had for over 5 years – the same time that this picture was taken – It was his birthday and my husband and I bought him a NASCAR experience for his birthday. He loved NASCAR.
Today I was told that he has about 3 months left.
Five years is how long it has been since I last spoke to my dad. Daddy, as I called him. He was the one who never left me – like my first father did. From the time I was born, he was there and every time he left the house, whether it was fishing, hunting, or running up to the store – he never left the house without me… I was always coming to his defense – Drunk or sober – I was there to make an excuse – even that day I came home from school and he was bloody and bruised from a road-rage incident where he proceeded to attempt to beat the hell out of a man on the side of the freeway and was instead, found life-less on the side of the road with my infant sister still sitting in the truck… and although I knew and understood the reason why, I still cried when my mother had had enough of his drunken stupid rages and kicked him out.
I even tried to defend him when he chose his “new family” over my brother and I as we grew and struggled to maintain some kind of relationship – especially after I was abandoned by the biological sperm donor of father number one… But, the evil stepmother who is his wife, never let us forget – we weren’t really his children.
But as I grew up and grew older, and his heart disease, heart attacks, and then cancer came to pass – there was no more to defend. It was time to get real about his mortality and impending death – and what he did not need was palliative-care Gospel.
So after years of placating his decision not to chose Christ and endless, foolish debates over why God was such a “mean” and unforgiving, vengeful God – (famine, disease, mass killings, etc) – I finally laid it out and there was no mercy –
“I don’t want to serve a God like that!” He railed.
“No worries,” I said. “You don’t.”
It was on.
I remained unapologetic for the remainder of the few conversations that remained. I told him that there was a penalty for unrepentant sin – and that was hell. I never wavered, and I stood my ground – just long enough to fall into the loving open arms of my husband – where I wept.
Bitterly, over the loss of their souls.
“I’m a good person,” was always the arrogant response from my father.
So, one day, I finally laid it out for him to see – as a matter of fact – for the whole family to see.
That was last time I spoke to my family – the whole family, even my side – the “c” “christian” side had nothing to say to me, except one – who referred to David and I as a cult.
So when I go the news of my father’s demise – I was also told that he “reassured” a family member that he had “given his life to Christ” as a 10-year-old child…
Funny, his life as an adult never reflected that decision – as a matter of fact, it was quite the contrary -often mocking me in my relentless pursuit of righteousness – coupled with his arrogant demands for God to prove Himself worthy of such a man as my father… That remark actually grieves me more! God forbid if he ever did taste the sweetness of redemption – may the fact that God has given him 3 months give me some kind of hope…
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:26-31)
The Gospel message is not palliative care – It is not a message of a kind, gentle stroke of lies to make the dying person feel better – It is not appeasing the pain of sin with medications that mask sin.
No, the Gospel is hard-core, open heart surgery with no anesthetic. It is painful – it is the total and complete exposure of the diseased heart in all its wretchedness, in desperate depravity, in need of a Savior.
One that calls the sinner out for who he is and brings him to the point of a godly grief that produces repentance – and leads to salvation.
The Gospel doesn’t sweetly pacify death – It confronts it. It is the offensive odor of the decaying soul that will die a death – worse than death.
We live in a world of Christians that peddle this palliative Gospel – the one that never heals anything, just a placebo instead of truth –
“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10).
Palliative care is designed to make the transition from life to death easier – but what those few remaining people in my father’s life, who call themselves disciples of Christ, have determined – is that this dying man needs Spiritual hospice.
No need to offend – no need to raise the blood pressure – or “upset” him, just let him die “in peace.”
My question – my outrage is what peace will the reality of Hell bring to this man – to this world? Nothing but a second death – an eternal, brutal, horrific, second – eternal – death.
Where is the compassion in that?
And what will they say when they stand before the holy God who demands to know why they did not “feed His sheep?”
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8).
The great commission is not hospice care – it is a CODE RED – An urgent call to the unrepentant, dying man – You need Jesus! You will die – You will go to hell – there is no escaping God’s wrath unless we submit to God’s will and bow before the cross of Christ Jesus.
Anything else is just a placebo.
“Behold now is the time of salvation!” (2 Cor. 6:2).