Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Fear of Death

Someone I know recently said to me:  “I don’t want to die.”  This person fears death apparently because it is the end of his earthly life.  Our earthly life is all we know firsthand.  We’ve all experienced the death of friends and family members.  In the last five years, I have been at the bedside of three family members, my brother, my father-in-law, and my sister-in-law, as their earthly lives came to an end.  I will no longer experience the living presence of these people in my home or in theirs.  Based on what we can directly observe, it would appear that it is the absolute end for them.  It makes us very sad and it makes us fear our own death.

If our focus is on Jesus, however, we have great hope.  There is much in the teachings of Jesus that point to life after death.  In fact, it is eternal life … life everlasting.  It is the reason God became man and the reason Christ died, so that despite our struggles in this life, despite our pain at being in this “valley of tears,” despite our failures in this “great period of distress,” we can and will be saved and enter into heavenly glory when our earthly life ends.  It is the very reason of our existence, that we be forever happy with God in heaven.  All we have to do is recognize Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” and follow him.

As I myself get more advanced in years on this earth, I think more and more about my own mortality, my own eventual death.  I find that I fear the end, but only because of the pain and suffering that I may have to endure.  I know that, in the end, it will be a matter of moving from one side of the curtain to the other.  I know what is on this side of the curtain.  I’ve fully experienced it.  But I also feel that I know what is on the other side, despite the fact that I haven’t seen what is there.  I will have a glorified body, like Jesus had after the resurrection.  People will not recognize me.  I will be able to be present in a room despite the locked doors.  I believe that I will be in God’s kingdom, where I will occupy a room in a large mansion.  I don’t look forward to leaving loved ones behind, but, at the same time, I look forward with great anticipation and excitement, for what this new world will hold for me starting with the day of judgement when I will be raised from my grave and experience this new life.   

My prayer for today:  Lord, please guide me through this life in your great love so that I can experience the splendor of the eternal life you have promised.  Amen.

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