Death Is Not the End
By Gloria Cruz
Losing a loved one is very hard, and I know it well.
The first time I faced the death of someone I loved was when I was nine years old. My grandmother, who lived with us, became seriously ill. One day she breathed her last breath when my mother and I were alone with her in the house. My mother, who was a believer, immediately began to pray. I did not fully understand what was happening.
My second encounter with death was when my husband passed away. He had contracted cancer. We were fighting the disease for several years, until he left us at the young age of 26.
Needless to say, that experience marked my life heavily. By this time, I’d already had a spiritual experience that led me to believe in a loving God and in Jesus as His representation on earth. My husband was also a believer. It goes without saying that believing in life after death helped us tremendously in coping with cancer in a more positive way, although it was still a very difficult battle.
My Christian beliefs also helped me with the sad outcome when my husband died. At that moment, the only thing I could hold on to was my faith that death was not the end of the road, but the beginning of something new and even better.
Of course, I fell apart at first. How could God take someone away in the prime of his life? And how could I be a widow at age 25? It was a tremendous blow.
What I did then—and still do when I face difficult moments—was to go to the many wonderful promises in God’s Word that talk about death and how it is the entrance to the next world. (You can find a selection of scriptures on this topic below.) I spent days in my room reading and rereading those promises, because that helped me to see the positive side of what had happened, such as he was in a better place, we would see each other again, nothing happens without a purpose, and God has a plan for everything. Slowly, my priorities and the way I saw life were changing.
But the moment I stopped meditating on those promises, my thoughts went to the negative: How could it be that God had taken him? Why did it have to be this way? I was not going to be able to overcome it. The pain felt unbearable and my heart was broken!
Little by little, God started to heal the wound with His balm of love, and through His Word, He was helping me to accept what had happened and to even turn it into something positive in my life. I also found comfort in reading the testimonies in the book Life After Life by Dr. Raymond Moody, and other similar writings.
Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” God can use what you’ve been through—including the loss of a loved one—to bring about something very positive in your life, and if you filter your heartache through that verse, you can gain a new perspective.
God is good and He loves you. Trust Him. Believe that heaven is real. Life does not end with death.
Here are some thoughts that helped me to accept death as something natural:
Leaving this life is just like going from one room to another and closing the door.
I am standing on the seashore. A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, “She is gone.” Gone where? The loss of sight is in me, not in her. Just at the moment when someone says, “She is gone,” there are others who are watching her coming. Other voices take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!” That is dying.—Henry Van Dyke
I encourage you to trust and believe that, as a born-again believer, your loved one has not disappeared! You will see him or her again. Think of the transformation you see happen with a caterpillar. It seems that when it locks itself in a cocoon, it has died, and it will never be a worm again. But no, it only underwent a transformation and now is a beautiful butterfly full of color. That’s how it is going to be when we die!
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Ecclesiastes 3:1–2: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…
Psalm 116:15: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
Psalm 139:16: Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Job 1:20–21: Then Job … said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 4:16–18: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Psalm 23:4: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Romans 14:8: For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
John 11:26: Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?
John 5:24: Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Isaiah 25:8: He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.
Luke 1:78–79: Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.