“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”– Revelation 1:17b-18 (NIV)
I have never met someone so joyful about the dying process. Until last night.
I had the opportunity to chaperone our youth to a nursing home to hear a chaplain speak about end-of-life issues. He had spent 25 years working with families and dying people and was a wealth of information about the whole process. He described how our current culture in this country “does death badly”. We fear death and do anything to slow it down. We are raising a whole generation of unchurched people who think “there’s nothing else after we die”, so we don’t like to think about death or face it, but hide from it or ignore it.
I was intrigued as this man described the dying process, heightened spiritual awareness (for some) of invisible beings and people, windows of time, the human will to live or die, and a host of other issues that he has experienced with his aging members. Some of his stories amused me, others brought me to tears. But through it all, he reassured our young people and adults time and time again that we do not need to fear death. We do not need to worry about death. He wove beautiful Scriptures on resurrection and hope throughout his talk, helping us see that Christ waits to escort us into a paradise upon death, a beautiful place that He has prepared for us. A place beyond our imagination. As his gentle voice and smile revealed his joy in his topic, no one could leave that place last night without feeling the power of the Holy Spirit in that room.
I love the Scripture above from Revelation. Jesus says “Do not be afraid.” This was after John witnessed him and fell to his feet. These words are stated several other times in the Bible and hold true for us today. “Do not fear.” “Do not be afraid.”
Do you fear death? I know fear wells up in us at times, over various things. Jesus has conquered all things and ultimately death. We do not have to fear anything. Jesus lives forever and ever. Let’s learn to “do death well”. Not fear it. Not fear the process. But embrace it, see it as a doorway to another life. And ultimately, to see the hope we have in the resurrection of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
Prayer–“Lord of Life, help me not to fear death. Help me trust in your promise that as a believer, I will live with you forever, though I die. I place my hope in you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”