Fear of death has always been my biggest fear until recently. I would actually sit and worry about it with thoughts like “What happens then? Where will I go? Will I just cease to exist? I don’t know how to NOT exist? I know the world won’t stop existing because I did, but will I know anything? Will I see my kids on earth?” Yes, I would actually sit and think these things, get all upset, and even made a few doctor appointments to make sure I was healthy. This was a major cause of anxiety for me, for a major portion of my life. Just the fear of the unknown.
I don’t have these thoughts anymore. I am no longer afraid to die. I am afraid it might hurt, or that I will suffer a lot, which is normal human hesitation. But I can honestly say now…I AM NOT AFRAID TO DIE. So, what happened to change my thinking?
After my awakening, I was talking one day to a friend who is terminally ill. I was trying to figure out what to say to her (when there is nothing you can actually SAY…you can only listen) to make her feel better, so I began to think of myself in her position. Knowing I had fewer days left that I had already lived. That one day soon I might cease to breathe and to exist. It was quite a sobering thought and I expected that old fluttery feeling in my chest to come back, the striking pang of fear that always came when I contemplated my own mortality. It did not come. Being the queen of ADHD, my thoughts are often scattered and fleeting…this one was no exception (SQUIRREL!!!).
It wasn’t until yesterday when I was watching the online service for Lackland Baptist Church, that I thought about it again. Pastor Rick Hudson was speaking about Jesus’ birth being a miracle because it showed God was with us. He made these points about what *Jesus as God with us* has revealed to us:
- It was the greatest revelation ever made: Jesus was God incarnate (references: John 1:14, 1 Tim 3:16)
- It showed the greatest power ever known: God transformed Mary’s life entirely, He can still change ours today and still does (2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!)
- He came on the mightiest mission ever known to mankind: And here is the verse that made me stop and think…read carefully and closely…
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.Hebrews 2: 14-18
WHAT??? Fear of death is slavery of the devil? I had to put the video on pause and think for a second, then go back and watch it again to make sure I heard right. I did. Whenever I thought of dying I would get scared. In that moment, I realized I was no longer scared. WHY????? I had to put a little note in my sermon notes for later, so I could think about that after the service was over (because I can’t walk and chew bubble gum, yes, I admit it).
As a basic principle of Christianity, we all know Jesus died for our sins. His blood replaced the animal blood that had been required as atonement. His death was part of God’s plan, it was written of by prophets, and accepted as part of the grand plan. As a Christian I know that. But reading that passage from Hebrews above, it really clicked in me: HIS DEATH WAS ALSO TO SHOW US NOT TO FEAR PHYSICAL DEATH when we become His children, because His resurrection shows us exactly what will happen after death! We are all going to die at one time or another, that is a fact. We see examples all through the Gospels where Jesus taught in parables, alluding to things and giving examples in ways we could understand them. His death, as explained in this verse, was yet another example He gave to us. Honestly, y’all….I got so excited I might have peed a little (wonders of childbirth..don’t judge me!). (For my favorite example, please see where Jesus washed the feet of His disciples…to show and exemplify a true servant’s heart…)
Okay, so, now I know why I was not afraid of death anymore. Because BEFORE my awakening, I never TRULY trusted in God to meet all of my needs, to guide my life, to BE my savior. Was I living as a hypocrite for all these years? No, I meant well. I believed in God, I believed in Jesus’ birth/death/resurrection, I believed in it all. I prayed to Jesus, read my Bible, and did things a faithful servant would do (even though NONE of that will “save” you because salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus, NOT by works). Was I truly saved? I don’t know!!! I made a public confession of faith, was baptized, and was a faithful church goer for many years. I remember an old pastor of mine saying “There are those of you sitting in those pews right now who come to church every Sunday, go through the motions, maybe even live a good and proper life to go with it, but you won’t be seeing God in Heaven and you won’t be walking with Jesus.” It used to scare me because I thought I could never “be good” enough to be with Jesus (and I can’t, nobody can). But, NOW I UNDERSTAND. All these years later. That one passage made it all crystal clear for me:
I am not afraid to die because I am certain of what is going to happen to me when I do
All these years I had doubt. I would say I didn’t, but when I thought of death, that little flutter in my gut would give me away. Today, I am proud to say that flutter is gone. I don’t welcome death, I like to be alive and human….but I am no longer scared of what awaits me. I fully trust God now. Why?? Because He gave me the tools necessary to believe, I used them, I sought His guidance, and I finally learned what it meant to completely surrender myself to Him.
Do you have that peace? Think deep and be brutally honest with yourself….do you? Are you afraid to die? If your answer is yes, then I highly encourage you to reevaluate your heart, seek Jesus in prayer and find someone who can really help you to know more about Jesus. Once you truly believe, you will have peace and comfort that you never had before. I am proof of this. Even a month ago I thought I was destined for Heaven, and now I’m not so sure I was at that time. God awakened me. I listened. I’m learning. And one day when it’s my time, I’m still going to be scared to leave my hubby and kids (and probably my stupid cats too!), but I’m not going to be afraid of what is next. Jesus tells us and shows us. We just have to listen.