Death, the king of terrors

Published 8:37 am Friday, June 9, 2023

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: While in a group setting, our host asked each of us to express our greatest fear. Being young, I hadn’t really thought about it; when we went around the room, the predominant fear was death. Why is this? – D.F.

Dear D.F.: Death is often called the king of terrors (referred to in the book of Job). Someone reported being at a party and the conversation became hushed as the group overheard a friend say he had been diagnosed with incurable cancer. A psychiatrist – a strong, handsome man who was a prominent member of the social and professional community – said, “I’m scared to death of dying.” He smiled sheepishly at his feeble pun, but he had honestly expressed what so many people feel.
In spite of rapid and ever-increasing advances in medical technology and pain relief, no one has found a way to lessen people’s fear of dying. This is not some new psychosis, but a condition as old as man. David, the bold youth who defied the giant Goliath, is the same man who cried out, “My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me” (Psalm 55:4-5).
Jesus’ disciples were rugged men, physically toughened by living outdoors and traveling long distances on foot. And yet when they were caught in a sudden storm so common in the area of Galilee, they shouted in desperate fear, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown” (Matthew 8:25, NIV). They were terrified that they were going to die, but when they heard the words of Jesus, their fear subsided.
This is what we must do – we must look to Jesus – for He said, “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me … has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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