14 May, 2013
Facing Death With Confidence
In recent weeks 4 of my friends have been diagnosed with cancer. Each case is of course entirely different. Two were told they stood and excellent chance of beating it and living long, productive lives. One was given 12 to 18 months with little hope beyond that. The other was given weeks to live. I've been amazed as I have watched each one come to terms with this terrible disease and face it head on. The last one I mentioned only lived a couple of weeks and left this life last week. Her strength and outlook blew my mind. She put her life in God's hands and believed for healing, but as she told me in a Facebook message a couple of weeks ago, "If I lose this fight, I still win in the end because I'll be home and I'll see you there!" I had no idea when I received that message it would be the last I'd ever get from her, but I have to tell you, those are some powerful parting words! Her attitude about death reminded me of one of my dearest friends who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in June of 2001. His disease also took him down rapidly and he died in September of that year. When David was fighting his illness, it really rattled me and was causing me a lot of anger and questions with God. My friend was not supposed to die at 39 years old. I remember the last time I spoke to him just a few weeks before his death and he challenged me about my attitude and I was getting a little angry with him. Then he said to me, "Darrell, if I beat this thing, I win because I get to stay here with my family and pastor this my church. If I don't, I win, because I will be instantly where you and I long to go and we give our lives trying to take others with us. I'll meet you there!" That conversation still rings in my mind some 12 years later. It caused me to change the way I think about life and death and eternity. I'm grateful that even on his deathbed, David took time to school me one more time.
Anyway... I've just been lost in thought about all this for the past few weeks, and I find myself asking the question of myself, "What if they told you that you had a matter of weeks to live? Could you maintain your integrity with God and face death with the same confidence as you do life? That's really something for us all to think about.