"Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life."
That's the verse from Revelation 2:10 which our fifth and sixth graders wrote on their ENCOURAGEMENT CROWNS. We were studying the age of persecution, learning about numerous Christians who suffered for their faith, many unto death.
As we discussed the courage these people displayed as they faced torture, and the special dying grace God granted them, I had to share with the kids the testimony of my mom's recent death.
My mom was always a scaredy-cat in many ways. She could imagine the worst case scenarios concerning approaching storms, illnesses of her children, or perhaps a burglar breaking into her house. She told me she always wondered if she would be afraid when death approached.
After Mom's six month bout with cancer, she received a final death sentence, so to speak, as her leukemia had spread to her brain. Mom cried out in her spirit to God...and a remarkable thing happened. ALL FEAR WAS GONE! My mama's countenance remained radiant until the point of her death. She would enthusiastically share what God had done for her with all of the many visitors she received those last two weeks. When she could no longer speak I would say, "Mama, do you want me to share your story for you?" Her eyes sparkled as she smiled and nodded her head.
She would relate, "I feel as if I've been sliding down a very steep hill, and I'm tired, but I'm getting ready to fall into the arms of the One Who has loved me the most for all these years. And I HAVE NO FEAR! I want you to know that when you know Jesus...death is nothing to be afraid of."
When I would ask Mom to give my greetings to various ones of our family already in heaven, she would say, "I will...but I WANT TO SEE JESUS FIRST."
Witnessing first-hand the dying grace granted by God to one of His children is something I consider a gift. When Mom's spirit left her body, there was a peace in her room. No fear...only peace. I shall never forget the experience.