Do you fear death, like the believers in Smyrna? Many of us do. I have at times. I don’t really fear death, but I do sometimes fear dying. But that is the one thing we have in common with every person on the face of the earth. We will die. We can’t get around that fact. But we do have a choice as to whether we are faithful unto death—faithful no matter what our death looks like, be it illness, old age, or persecution. We must remain faithful unto death.
My grandmother was one of the sweetest, most godly women I have ever met. She was diagnosed with bladder cancer when she was eighty years old. I felt cheated. Until the cancer, she looked and acted much younger. I envisioned trips together, holidays, and visits with her great-grandchildren. And yet, death came knocking.
One day, about two weeks before she died, my mother and my sister were in the hospital room with her. My sister has a beautiful singing voice, and my grandmother always cherished hearing her sing. So Grandmama requested that my sister sing “Amazing Grace” to her.
As my sister sang, my grandmother closed her eyes. The look on her face was that of peace and amazement. As strange as it sounds, God gave her a picture of heaven. When she closed her eyes, she saw light and life and love. She saw loved ones long passed.
At one point, with her eyes still closed, she said, “Someone’s calling me baby.”
Then she gasped. “Daddy!” she said, her face beaming with joy.
After that, my grandmother was not only unafraid; she was anxious to go. Previously, she had selected her blue suit to be buried in. She immediately changed it to the white suit, “Because everyone was dressed in white,” she said confidently.
We all came to the hospital that day, knowing that time was drawing near. We were the ones who were sad and upset, not her. As we all gathered around her, she said, “When your time comes, don’t be afraid. It is wonderful there. Rejoice.”
My grandmother still had much pain to endure in the next couple of weeks. But she knew where she was going, and that truth, placed front and center in her mind, caused her to be faithful unto death. We will all die. But may we live for Him until the moment we run into His arms.