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Facing Death Fearlessly
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We were leaving my parent’s house when my husband and I received some shocking news: a dear family friend had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and was in the hospital.

Although it was already evening and we still had a four-hour trip ahead of us, I looked at my husband and said, “We have to go to the hospital first.” He understood why.

Alf had been more than a close family friend. Six years ago he stood by my family as my brother, Dan, faced terminal cancer. Alf was there—at the hospital, in our homes, staying in touch through phone calls and emails when he couldn’t be there in person. Even after the funeral, he was there.

When I walked into his hospital room, Alf held his arms open for a hug. And then he said to me, “Well, Nancy, we saw Dan through this. And now it looks like it’s my turn.”

​Smile on His Face

Alf didn’t look like someone who had only a short time to live. And he certainly didn’t act like it. His voice was cheery. He had a smile on his face. And he inquired about every member of my family before he talked much about his diagnosis.

How could he be that way while facing his own death? One statement he made answered my question: “I know that I’ll be healed,” he told me. “What I don’t know is whether it will happen on ‘this side’ of the curtain, or on the ‘other side.’ ”

In other words, Alf believed that he served a God who could and would heal. And healing would happen either in this life, or at the Resurrection. 

It’s not a pleasant thought, but someday we will all face death. Bodies grow old, diseases come, and accidents happen. None of us wants to die. Alf certainly didn’t. He told me that the hardest part about dying was leaving his beloved wife behind. But when we believe that we will be healed eternally on the other side of the curtain, death loses its terror.

So if you face your own death, or the death of someone you love, remember Jesus’ words in John 11:25, 26: “ ‘I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die. And everyone who lives because of faith in me will never really die. Do you believe this?’ ”

Yes, I do! 

Believe it with me.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH VERSION ®.

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