Updated: Oct 16, 2021
My father recently died of a chronic lung disease that he had been diagnosed with about 36 years ago. He lived with it, and for the most part did whatever he wanted to, with some limitations of course, however to make a long story short, it caught up with him in late 2020, and after much suffering, medically induced and otherwise, the Good Lord took him home on April 22.
For the last week or so of his life, he was turned over to hospice care, which is of course therapy that is not focused on curing the patient, who of course has been determined to be terminally ill, but on making them comfortable for the last days, weeks, months, of their lives, whatever the case may be. He had been on oxygen, with an ever increasing concentration, with the top setting having become inadequate to meet his sustained physical needs; for him not to feel out of breath; a feeling that would most definitely [by design] make one feel anxious and alarmed at the instinctual [gut] level. The physicians referred to this as “air hunger.” Having had been turned over to hospice care, he immediately began receiving drugs to make him more comfortable. One of the first drugs that he received was called Ativan.
After receiving the Ativan, he noticed that he no longer felt the feelings associated with air hunger and he felt that he could breathe better. This was of course a good thing, however the doctors essentially told us that the reason that he was feeling the air hunger was still there, but the medication had relaxed him; taking away much of that gut-level anxiety, and had thus masked many of the associated symptoms. He was still not getting enough air to sustain him for much longer. That week he physically faded away and then went home to be with Jesus on April 22.
Air is of course an essential physical life giver in many ways. The finished work of Jesus, which makes the provision for salvation by grace alone, and the sealing with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 2:8-9) is our spiritual; eternal life giver. There is a lot of “spiritual Ativan,” which temporarily masks people’s need for the Holy Spirit whom we receive and are sealed with when we believe the Gospel (Eph. 1:13, 1 Cor. 15:1-4). These things can range from addictions of all sorts to counterfeit gospels, and everything in between. The Ativan made my dad stop feeling out of breath, even though he was not breathing adequately to sustain his physical needs, and he eventually died as a result. In much the same way, worthless substitutes for the Holy Spirit may make some feel a temporary sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, but do nothing to provide true fulfillment and eternal life. Also like Ativan, after some time, they result in a host of unwanted side effects.
My dad would have essentially needed new lungs to have kept on living physically; Ativan was not going to get the job done, to say the least. People need the new birth to live spiritually; forever (John 3, 1 John 3); the substitutes are not going to get the job done.
Perhaps you or someone you love needs this new birth. The process of the new birth is simple for people, as Jesus already did the hard work. Romans 6:23 tells us: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We do nothing to earn a true gift; we simply choose to receive it; truly believe; fully trust Him for it, and it becomes ours [a gift from God would be a true gift in every proper sense; that is His nature]. We read in Acts 16:30-31: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Please have an unhurried look around this website at the articles and posts, and read the free e-book: Angles and Aspects of Salvation, which can be accessed at numerous places on this site. Downloading and printing it is not only permitted but encouraged. God bless.