Part 1:  Destined to Die

DustyMark's Journey, Words from Mark 11 Comments

March 23rd 2022-Mark Linsley

Palliative Care

Hebrews 9:27-28

New International Version

27 “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

Palliative care (derived from the Latin root palliare, or ‘to cloak’) is an interdisciplinary medical caregiving approach aimed at optimizing quality of life and mitigating suffering among people with serious, complex illnesses.” (Wiki)

I’ve been hearing this term a lot lately and it is kind of discouraging.  I feel as if my Dr.’s are  throwing in the towel and now we’re going to concentrate our efforts on pain management and overall comfort.  I realize that it’s much more comprehensive than that and I am deeply grateful for modern medicine and the advancements that have been made to relieve pain and suffering.

Destined to Die

“To mitigate suffering among people with serious or complex illnesses.”  I’ve been reading in Hebrews lately—meditating specifically on 9:27-28  

“Just as people are destined to die once,”—Paul states it so matter -of-factly—“Just as”. Because it’s a known fact, a universal truth, undebatable we all know it yet are so good at ignoring it.  I suppose the only debate I’ve heard is from friends who believe in reincarnation from your human body to another earth bound living creature.  They might be a group of people who wouldn’t believe the second part  that “people are destined to die once,” because they would believe in multiple deaths.  But overall, we all know the Grim Reaper is coming!  It’s in the back of our minds and it drives all of our motives, and decisions whether conscious or sub-conscious.  Psalm 139

Complex Illness

I’ve been told we all are carrying around cancer, however some of us for one reason or another have lost the ability to fight it.  Most of of our immune systems for most of our lives successfully hold it at bay.  The truth is we are all carrying around a much more serious and complex illness and it can be summed up simply as DEATH!  It’s in me and it’s in you and no amount of care will cure it, ‘palliative’ care will merely ‘cloak’ it. 

It’s so complex and so ingrained that we have shifted are efforts to making life as comfortable as we can for as long as we can.  Some of my friends, like myself, seriously chafe at this idea of death.  I know I do—I can’t describe it; it just doesn’t  feel right,  it doesn’t fit, there has to be an alternative.  I wasn’t meant to die.  Working in aviation for most of my adult life has forced me to do some self evaluation.  The FAA has boiled down 5 hazardous attitudes to lead to aircraft accidents and poor decision making.  It’s your job as a pilot to identify yours and combat it properly to avoid potentially unnecessary accidents.  My hazardous attitude is Invulnerability.  It won’t happen to me attitude   I naturally have this tendency to believe that ‘death’ is for those other people, it won’t happen to me.  Ha!  It’s hilarious to even write it!  

The truth is I wasn’t designed to die and thats why it chafes!  God’s original design has always included eternity, its ingrained in me!  It’s only natural to feel like somethings not right when a loved one departs.  The Bible tells me that we each have this disease:

Romans 5:12  New International Version

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

Buying time

We, in America, have become great at palliative care, we consume like no other group of people in the history of the world.  I think buying things is a short term fix/diversion from death.  Then when that wears off we move to entertainment and finally we end at intoxication.  Driving down the interstate staring at billboards gives one perspective on where marketers are competing for the biggest consumers (Americans) dollar; it’s pretty easy to see where the fiercest battles are.  Gambling and Cannabis!  I would guess that is where most of the billboard dollars are being spent right now.  Entertainment and Intoxication.  Apparently we’re all shopped out! 

  • What am I doing?  Why all of these Dr. Visits surgeries etc.. Cancer has won,  I’m just fighting for time.  Immunotherapy has failed and chemotherapy isn’t enough. But we will battle as long as we can.  The war started at the kidney and ends at the liver.  That will be the last battle.  1 year, 2 years, no one can tell me, but my Dr. said we’re essentially buying time and quality of life.
  • How much of my life have I been buying time?  Ignoring the pain, or anesthtisizing it with the pleasures of life, food drink, entertainment.  I, like all of us, have been guilty of ignoring the signs.  
  • I feel like I need to warn my kids, family and friends to not waste their time!  Don’t wait for pain signals!  It’s here for all of us, we’re essentially investing in our future whether we know it or not, delayed gratification.
  • Reading Hezekiah novel—keeps reminding me how proud I am, and how pride creeps into everything, even writing these blog updates, I have to continue to ask myself what is the purpose?  Am I reflecting Christ? Am I following him?  Is there any drive in me for my own glory?—God can and will create chaos to drive people and Glory back to himself.  Its the best thing for us to be centered around His Glory!  He is the center of the universe and needs to be the center of our lives and yet  … and yet

I feel like I’ve been given a glimpse of what most people cannot see, yet is right there in front of us.  Every time we look in the mirror and notice another set of wrinkles, a little thinner hair, a little muscular atrophy, another ache, a few extra pounds, etc. etc.  the Grim Reaper is coming, the King James Version states “And as it is appointed unto men once to die,” —we each have an appointment with Death and there is nothing I can do to communicate it any better than all the poets, philosophers, and theologians of our past.  My friends and family are doomed to ignore it like I was and all of mankind has been for thousands of years.  

Romans 5:12  New International Version

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

Comments 11

  1. Deep thoughts. Praying for your spiritual strength through this long haul. It looks like spiritual wisdom is happening. Thanks for sharing what is hard to even wrap our minds around. ❤️🙏🏼

  2. Well expressed. Recently heard of someone who goes away on her birthday because she can’t face that she’s getting older and doesn’t want anyone to remind her. Alot of times she just goes off alone, but sometimes allows her husband to go with her. How sad. She is a believer in Christ, but struggles so with the whole growing older and looking toward the death that will eventually come – unless the Lord returns first.
    Again, thanks for sharing your heart and spiritual wisdom with us. Continuing to hold all of you up in prayer.

  3. Mark, you and Dusty are in my every prayer. Though I have never met you my my heart aches for you as you both travel this very difficult road. Your strength and strong faith are undeniably a great encouragement to many. Sending my love from NC.

  4. 1 Chronicles 29:15-17 New Living Translation
    We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon.

    This verse goes along with Hebrews 9:27 our physical destiny is temporary….. sojourners in a foreign land where we try to fill the emptiness of our lives with temporary idols. I need to keep focused on my eternal home, my eternal hope and make my daily goals line up with an eternal perspective.

    Thanks for your wise words, Mark.

  5. Very true and wise words, Mark. Nancy any I are so blessed to be walking with you in spirit. You encourage and challenge us greatly. Love to you and Dusty!


    1. PS, a verse to consider:

      “Though the fig tree does not blossom And there is no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive fails And the fields produce no food, Though the flock is cut off from the fold And there are no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation!”
      ‭‭Habakkuk‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭AMP‬‬

  6. What Cancer Cannot Do
    Cancer is so limited…
    It cannot cripple love.
    It cannot shatter hope.
    It cannot corrode faith.
    It cannot destroy peace.
    It cannot kill friendship(s).
    It cannot suppress memories.
    It cannot silence courage.
    It cannot invade the soul.
    It cannot steal eternal life.
    It cannot conquer the spirit.
    -Author Unknown

  7. Thank you for these thoughts! We all need to rethink our motives and what our time is spent doing. It is important that we reflect Christ. You do! Keep the thoughts coming!

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