Hope for the Terminally Ill
Support. Others came, too. They didn't offer advice. They mostly listened and accepted his feelings. They hugged him. Some wept and prayed with him. They helped lighten his load. They were sensitive to his needs and supported him as he worked his way through an unchartered maze of conflicting emotions. They were exactly what he needed and what others in similar situations need.
Acceptance. True, Graham did all he could to hang onto life, but when he realized he was fighting a losing battle and worked through his conflicting emotions, he came to accept his lot with a deep sense of peace. What helped him to do this more than anything else was his irrepressible faith. In fact, hospital staff were amazed how well he was handling his situation and said that without a strong faith, many in the same condition tend to go to pieces.
Assurance. Graham felt certain of life beyond death. He believed implicitly in what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."1 With outstretched arms raised heavenward Graham described how he longed to meet God, the Heavenly Father. He was ready to die.
I had to return home, so the last time I saw Graham we both knew we wouldn't see each other again in this life. There would be no more fishing trips. No more family get-togethers. No more laughing and joking together.
When we said goodbye, I felt overwhelmed with grief and wept unashamedly. Graham, as ill as he was, hugged and comforted me. And when he said, "Goodbye, my friend. I know where I'm going. I'll see you on the other side," there was a genuine note of confidence and assurance in his voice.
What helped more than anything
else was his irrepressible faith."
Then came the sad news. Graham's wife, Jenny, phoned. She told me that the night before Graham died, his body was so weak it flopped like a rag doll's, but again he said how much he was longing to meet God. Soon after he slipped quietly into a coma from which he never recovered. The doctor came the next morning, and as he leaned over Graham's comatose body to check his pulse, Graham suddenly sat upright in bed, and pushing the doctor aside turned his face heavenward—as if being greeted by someone human eyes couldn't see—reached out to who or whatever was there. His lifeless body fell backwards. Graham was gone!
According to Jenny, a sense of peace like a divine presence filled the entire house. It felt as if an angel had come in persons to take Graham home. Perhaps one did.
Peace. One thing is certain, Graham had made his peace with God, was ready to die, and was excited about meeting God—something we'll all do when our time is up.2
You can have this same peace by believing that God's Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross to save you from your sins, by confessing your sinfulness to him and asking for his forgiveness, and by inviting Jesus into your heart and life as personal Lord and Savior. When you do this, God will freely forgive you and give you the gift and assurance of eternal life. For help click on the God's Invitation link below.
1. John 11:25, 26, (NIV).
2. See Hebrews 9:27 and Amos 4:12 in the Bible.
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