When Death Is Welcomed!


“Death would be welcomed” is what he said to me as I sat next to him on his bed the month before he died from pancreatic cancer.  My brother was in terrible pain and he grimaced in agony just saying the words.  My brother always had a positive outlook,  no matter what was going on in his life. So to hear him say that, was an indication of how much suffering he was going through.  I was reminded that, no matter the life we live, none of us are exempt from the natural laws of this world.

Over twenty years ago Boyd K. Packer said this:

“The very purpose for which the world was created, and man introduced to live upon it, requires that the laws of nature operate in cold disregard for human feelings. We must work out our salvation without expecting the laws of nature to be exempted for us. Natural law is, on rare occasions, suspended in a miracle. But mostly…like the lame man at the pool of Bethesda,  (we) wait endlessly for the moving of the water.” (GC, April 1991, “The Moving of the Water”)

All of us should take great comfort in the above statement. It provides for me at least, a reinforced understanding that this life is a testing ground and that the laws of nature are rarely superseded by the hand of Deity. Indeed, none of us would expect that after driving our cars off the side of a mountain road that the laws of gravity would be suspended and that somehow our autos would float to the ground below. That is why we drive on the road and not over cliffs in order to reach our destinations. Over the cliff is quicker, but on the road is proven to be safer.

We have faith for miracles, but more importantly we have real hope in the understanding of the Lord’s grand plan of salvation. In this life all of us suffer to some degree or another.  Some suffer a lifetime. In the above address by Boyd K. Packer, he makes mention of the pool of Bethesda in the Savior’s day. Mentioned by John in his gospel, the waters of this pool were said to have healing powers. Tradition had it that the first in the water after it ‘stirred’ would be healed of their infirmity. Many, because of their handicaps could never be the first in the pool. But still they waited and hoped. Be it allegorical or factual, many, as quoted by Elder Packer, “wait(ed) endlessly for the moving of the water.”

There are many, like my brother, who are only relived of their pain in this life, by death. As I sat next to him that day, and heard his cry, I caught a glimpse of his agony and also of his faith. Death is not the end and my brother knew it. His hope and faith was best expressed in something he said to my sister. “When I pass to the other side, do you think Mom will be the first one there to greet me?” he said.

For my brother, and for all faithful followers of Jesus Christ, it isn’t a question of there being an afterlife; when death is welcomed,  it is just a question of procedure.





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