In 1994 Ali Pierce, the fourteen-year-old daughter of John and Anna Pierce of Massachusetts, was diagnosed with liver cancer. She fought the disease bravely for two years, but in November 1996 she passed away.
Her parents of course were grief-stricken. To deal with his loss, the father sought a constructive way to help others. He started running and set the goal of entering the 1998 Boston Marathon. He intended to take pledges for his run in support of the cancer center where his daughter had died.
On October 11, 1997, Pierce entered a half marathon in Hollis, New Hampshire. The 13.1 mile race was the longest race he had ever run. He was fifty-one years old, and so before the race he had a medical exam and was given a clean bill of health.
He almost finished the race. Just ten feet short of the finish line, wearing a baseball cap that said, “In Memory of Ali Pierce”, John Pierce crumpled to the pavement, dead of a heart attack.
Death—what a terrible enemy!
Thankfully, Jesus Christ, through his resurrection from the dead, has defeated death, not only for himself, but also for everyone who is willing to put their trust in him. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 says, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Since Jesus has given us such a spectacular victory over the terrible enemy of death, how then must we live? The answer is given in the next verse—“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (v.58).