Health & Spirit

Is it wrong for my aunt to want to die?

By Billy Graham, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: My aunt is in a nursing home, and she says she can't understand why God keeps her here. She doesn't have any quality of life, and all she wants to do is go to Heaven. What can I say to cheer her up? Is it wrong for her to feel this way? -- Mrs. M.Z.

A: No, it's not necessarily wrong for us to want to leave this life behind and go to Heaven; after all, that is God's plan for us. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "We ... would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Never forget: we were not meant for this world alone. Yes, our bodies will die, but our souls will not die -- and the closer we get to Christ, the less we'll be satisfied with the things of this world, and the more we'll want to be with Him forever. Paul's heart-cry can become ours: "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" (Philippians 1:23).

How can you encourage your aunt? First, let her know that you love her and you will miss her when she is gone. Thank her also for all she's meant to you (and to others), and let her know that even now her faith is an encouragement to you. Then assure her that God has not forgotten her -- not at all. I often take comfort from God's promise to Isaiah: "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you" (Isaiah 46:4).

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Encourage her also to do all she can to help others, even at this stage of her life. No, she can't do everything she once did -- but she can pray, and she can offer an encouraging word to those around her.


(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:



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