Afraid To Die
Are you afraid to die? Obviously, those who take their own life fear pain more than death. Dying is preferable in their perspective than what they are experiencing in the moment, or in their recent past. The majority of people seek to live with a natural instinct for life, and when death is threatened pursue survival. Simply because a person seeks to protect his life, or the life of another, does not mean he is afraid to die, or that he necessarily fears death. Others are very fearful of death, even though it does not saturate their daily thinking; they live taking for granted tomorrow will come. But confronted with the reality of death, how many are afraid to die?
This last week I was struck by two articles: One, about a soon to be mother and her husband on an airplane this last week when a Flight Attendant lost it and grabbed the intercom to tell the passengers the plane was going to crash and they were all going to die. The other, the result of a national survey regarding the question: “If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven? The former was written by a pregnant wife, a Christian, who was faced in a moment with the possibility of her, her husband’s, and her infant in the womb’s death. She was terrified, and not unlike many, found it difficult to battle her paralyzing fears. Later, when the passengers became aware they were not in danger, she thought through her immediate response from the perspective of her genuine Christian beliefs and why she was thrown for a moment into abject fear. This is a healthy exercise for all of us who believe with confidence that we really do have assurance of heaven if we die tonight; but has that confidence, if you have such, been truly tested lately, or ever.
Death seldom presents itself conveniently, unless you are of that “hoary headed group that live to such a ripe old age that you recognize you are on death’s doorstep. Even those struck with a terminal disease in younger life never think it convenient. There are always good reasons why we need to live; death go away, come again another day! This young mother realized how attached she was to this world, and unprepared in her everyday world view to be separated from it. Are you?
The national survey asked a representative scientifically selected number of people if and how often they questioned themselves, if they were to die tonight were they confident they would go to heaven. 52% of the Western United States say they never ask the question; 50% of the South and the Bible Belt never do; 45% of the Midwest and North do not; and surprisingly only 31% of the Northeast never ask. Who woulda thunk the NE would be the populace where 69% still ask this question? Nevertheless, is it true so many think so little of death and its consequences; that there is no fear of death even though death surrounds us in our world every day?
As a Christian believer how often do you think of death and your preparation for it? The Bible is saturated with references to death, separation from the body, and our being made fit now for life beyond the grave. Are your children ready to bear your absence from their life? I am sure you have many other questions about your (sudden) departure and its consequences. Preparation for death is the least thing for you to procrastinate while thinking you have 7 or 8 decades or more; and you can get really prepared in the last one. Living well now (pursuing Christ), equates to not fearing death because you fear God and His sovereign grasp of your life and those who are yours.
Pride is the greatest anesthetic to a spiritual heart (it numbs it) which fears not death when God calls. In contrast to a heart numbed by pride, “The reward for humility is the fear of the Lord, riches and honor and life.(Proverbs 22:4) Life lived humbly with death in view is a life which makes the most of living today, while fearing not its time; a time no man knows.
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