From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

My neighbor is dying of cancer and told me that she is not afraid to die because she will be in the presence of God. Another friend is in heart failure and is blaming God. Why do people react so differently when it comes time to die?

— L.E.

Dear L.E.: Death for the believer in Jesus Christ is distinctively different from what it is for the unbeliever. It is not something to be feared, nor is it to be shunned.

Compare expressions from the dying who have no faith with words from those who believe in a saving God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Voltaire said, “I am abandoned by God and man! I shall go to Hell! O Christ.” Charles IX, king of France said, “What blood, what murders; what evil councils have I followed. I am lost!”

Martin Luther said: “God is the Lord by whom we escape death.” John Knox proclaimed: “Live in Christ, die in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death.” Richard Baxter said: “I have pain — but I have peace.”

There is a vast difference between the death of a believer and the unbeliever.

Even doctors and nurses have told about holding the hands of dying people, and they say there is often as much difference between the death of a Christian and a non-Christian as there is between Heaven and Hell.

Most Christians have a triumphant spirit in the way they face death because we know that death is the Christian’s coronation, the end of conflict and the beginning of glory in Heaven. It is the shadowed threshold to the palace of God. No wonder Paul declared that he desired “to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).

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