Trees in Winter

Hospice, Emergency Room, or Hospital?

In this world, apart from Jesus, the penalty of sin (which is death – not just physical, but separation from God) is oppressive.  It looms over life, casting a pall over our outlook.  Our fallen world, cursed because of mankind’s choice to sin, drags us down with difficulties, entropy, and death.

Sometimes, rather than fighting against what seems inevitable, we may long to just hide out, and be comfortable in isolation.  It certainly looks easier to cover over the difficulties of life with entertainment or escapes, rather than continuing the fight…sort of like this guy, who Jesus spoke about in a parable:

And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘
Luke 12:19 NASB

http://bible.com/100/luk.12.19.NASB

In fact, let me postulate this: I think that the enemy (Satan) has placed much of the entertainment and busy-ness of the world as distractions to this fact.  As he and other forces that oppose God try to keep people away from the truth, they create an environment like a hospice1, keeping people comfortable until death – in this case, an eternal, spiritual death – comes for them.  Even with a nagging feeling that something isn’t right with the world, it is easier to remain entertained and busy, and not think about the reality of the situation we live in.  Eventually, separation and death looms ahead like a cloud on our mental horizon, but that cloud can be ignored to the point that some just accept it as an inevitability – an uncomfortable fact to be blocked out of our minds.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case.  Yes, our heart breaks with those whose loved ones are nearing physical death (even those whose destination is Heaven), because even temporary separation from those we love is never easy.  But, for the disease of sin, there is a cure.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 NASB

http://bible.com/100/rom.6.23.NASB

There is no need to live with the burden of sin and the foreboding of its eternal consequences.  We don’t have to keep covering over that fear with noise and distractions.  God offers us a solution – accepting Jesus’ payment of our sins, and choosing to return to Him.  With that, the penalty of sin is cancelled (see Colossians 2:13-14), and we can live in freedom (see Romans 8:20-21).

In this same sense, those who share the good news of healing from sin are more like those who work in an emergency room or an ambulance.  They have the life-saving information about how anyone can be freed from the eventual cost of wrong choices.  Once we have the cure, I hope that we will each be part of the solution.  Whether we ourselves serve as these “rescue workers”, or support others who are serving the spiritually ill, this good news is that healing is available.

If we could carefully take this metaphor a little farther (being respectful to those who are dealing with severe medical issues – whether for themselves, or among those they care about), those who have been healed still need to take care of themselves.

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
2 Peter 1:10‭-‬11 NASB

http://bible.com/100/2pe.1.10-11.NASB

Once our sin problem is fixed, we need to make sure that we remain healthy.  In the spiritual domain, that may mean “well visits” to a doctor (like gathering together in groups – large or small – as Christians) for ourselves, or helping other people continue to recover from their illnesses (lending a hand to those whose sins – or consequences of past sins – are still being battled against).  Just like keeping our physical bodies as healthy as possible takes work, Paul compares our spiritual responsibilities to a fight:

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12 NASB

http://bible.com/100/1ti.6.12.NASB

Although our sin may be covered, those who follow Jesus still have their share of human nature to overcome, remaining sinful habits to battle, and the challenges that persist in this life.  Being cured from a fatal disease doesn’t guarantee perfect health for the rest of our lives, but with healthy habits, we can live our lives in Christ to the fullest.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 NASB

http://bible.com/100/jhn.10.10.NASB

Don’t be resigned to just getting through life until you die.  Seek the abundant life, both here, and hereafter.

For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:5 NASB

http://bible.com/100/2co.1.5.NASB

See also:


 


  1.  We must not fail to recognize the bravery and strength of many of those who are in hospice care, and the dedication of caregivers who serve those whose bodies are dying.  However, palliative care is a place to care for those who are preparing to move on to the next life.  And, we know that – for those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation – they have glory to look forward to.   This article is not meant to dishonor any of those going through this challenging time of life, but rather to encourage all of us to live the life we have for an eternal purpose. 

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