It comes for us all, it is the great equalizer of all people everywhere…”it” is of course death. Many people fear death for different reasons and I can’t say that I’m not one of them. I do, in a sense, look forward to my own death so as to be free from this sinful body and to look upon the face of my Savior. I’m also really looking forward to that whole glorified body thing. In another sense though I’m not looking forward to death all that much; I don’t like the idea of being separated from my children, family (well, some of my family anyway) and friends (because they are still living), plus I have a low threshold for pain and of course the uncertainty of the timing and the big question of how I will die. I struggle with this because the Bible has verses in it like this:
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:21
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt. 10:28
“And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” Luke 12:4
I know I must not fear death rather I should look forward to it, in one sense, but in another sense that’s hard to do. There is much sorrow surrounding death, especially for those who are unredeemed and yet as a Christian we have faith that death is not the end, but merely a beginning and yet I still have this fear. As a Christian our death should be a celebration of the freedom from this world and a life dedicated to serving God, yet many times a Christian’s funeral doesn’t look much different from non-Christians why is that? Why is it that we sometimes as Christians look at the lives of people like Jim Elliot and say what happened was “such a tragedy” when in the full spectrum of reality it was no tragedy at all in fact it was a great victory, he exemplified Matthew 10. (There are many other examples of Christian martyrs I could have chosen but I figured I’d choose one most people would be familiar with) We have to remember, as a Christian, that Christ called us to take up our cross and follow Him. Our cross…we also have to remember that the cross isn’t a cute little charm on a necklace, it was an instrument of death, the modern equivalent would most likely be an electric chair. I don’t believe this was merely figurative language Christ was using here, Christ has called us on a mission that is most likely going to expatiate our physical death and we are to be obedient unto that death just as Christ was obedient unto His. I understand all this…
there is part of me that still fears death, my own death, my wife’s death and the idea that scares me more than anything is the death of one of my children. Is this something I can ever move past? Is this kind of death something I can ever really embrace or look forward to? Should it give me pause to consider my full commitment to Christ when I have these fears? Does anyone else struggle with this? These are my questions for today’s Theology Thursday please discuss in comments.