Wednesday, April 2, 2008

We Are Terminal

"A guy who was terminal..." This quote was in something written by a cancer survivor and it kind of took me by surprise.

I am sure there are proper definitions for who should have the "terminal" designation. The doctors have said that there is no hope of arresting the disease. It will advance and end the person's life. Maybe the predicted life expectancy has to be under a certain limit. I don't know.

Moses said, "The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away." (Psalms 90:10)

Something bothers me about "A guy who was terminal..." I am not wild about believing something just because a doctor said it. Doctors are making an educated guess about the situation - and they may be right or wrong. They may be close or way off. It seems kind of premature to call yourself terminal just because a doctor says you probably won't live very long.

But my real issue is that everybody is terminal. A doctor might predict that you will die of your disease soon, but he doesn't really know. The more telling issue is that he cannot say with any assurance that you will live long enough to die of your disease. Death is just a heartbeat away. Every breath might be your last.

Death is a universal reality. Sometimes we live longer lives. Sometimes shorter. No doctor can keep you alive forever. He might help you dodge a bullet only to have you hit by a bus. (Writing this gives me chest pain. I am a hypochondriac.)

People live in denial. "That guy is terminal, but I am not."

Oh, yeah? How long are you going to live? Another year? Ten more? Twenty? Thirty? How do you know? Will you still be alive 100 years from now?

If not, you had better face the fact that you are also "Terminal." You are on your way out. You better make sure you know what to expect on the other side of death, because it is coming for you - probably sooner than you expect.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26)

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